Friday, 21 July 2017

OR in the Third Sector SIG are hosting an Impact Measurement session

Involved in, interested in, or intrigued by the third sector?

We have an event that may be for you if you’re an O.R professional looking to explore methodology and utilise your professional skills to help the third sector. The event also welcomes anyone from charitable organisations looking to begin, or advance, your journey on impact measurement. We can provide the knowledge and skills to help you develop your own practical understanding of the topics and simplify the decision making process. 

Pro Bono O.R. have teamed up with the economics charity, Pro Bono Economics, and charity think tank and consultancy New Philanthropy Capital, to provide a half day workshop on the topic of Impact Measurement. Impact measurement can differ in perspective, approach and purpose. O.R impact measurement can help an organisation decide what is relevant, efficient and most effective.

Speakers include Mark Graham, Pro Bono Economics, and Rosie McLeod, New Philanthropy Capital, who will be hosting an interactive session based on participants’ interests. The afternoon session will include talks from David Wrigley, Orvis Consulting, Jamie Douglas, DWP, and Sam Mackay and John Newman, Apteligen; who will be feeding back the lessons they’ve learnt from Pro Bono O.R projects looking at impact measurement, and the experience of receiving Pro Bono O.R. support in a large regional charity.

When? Wednesday 25th October 
Time? 1:30pm-5pm
Where? Central London

To sign up to the event, for free, then head to: 
https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/or-in-the-third-sector-sig-impact-measurement-session-tickets-36435271879?ref=estw 

For any queries, please contact Hope Meadows (hope.meadows@theorsociety.com)


Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Join our third sector committee today!


Third Sector SIG

Special Interest Groups' activities are directed towards the practical and theoretical development of O.R. and the promotion of wider knowledge and appreciation of O.R.
The third sector SIG is looking for a new Chair as well as committee members. Role descriptions are below.


Chair
You must be a member to take on the position of Chair. The Chair shall ensure committee meetings are called and held in accordance with the Special Interest Group constitution and consult with committee members to establish and confirm an agenda for each committee meeting. The Chair shall officiate and conduct committee meetings, provide leadership and ensure committee members are aware of their obligations and that the committee complies with its responsibilities. The Chair shall ensure there is sufficient time during the committee meeting to fully discuss agenda items, and ensure that discussion on agenda items is on topic, productive and professional. The Chair shall ensure minutes are complete and accurate, retained, included and reviewed at the next committee meeting. The Chair shall develop and maintain the vision and strategy for the SIG.
The Chair shall officiate and conduct SIG meetings, ensuring speakers keep to time and working with committee members to facilitate networking among attendees. Following a SIG meeting, the Chair shall write (email) to the speaker(s) to formally thank them for their time and contribution.
Committee Members
Committee members shall provide support for organising SIG meetings by suggesting suitable topics, identifying speakers, sourcing suitable venues and helping to promote the event. It may be appropriate for a member of the committee to be the meeting organiser for a SIG meeting. It will be their responsibility, with the support of the rest of the committee, to book the venue and refreshments, invite and brief the speaker(s), organise publicity, manage attendance registration and provide a brief for the Chair to officiate the meeting. A member of the committee shall volunteer, or be nominated, to provide a full write up of the SIG meeting which will be used for publication in Inside O.R. A summary of the SIG meeting should also be posted on the blog on the Special Interest Group’s page of the OR Society website no later than one week following the SIG meeting.


The committee typically meet three/four times a year (mostly virtually) and the SIG would plan to put on three/four events per year. For further information about Special Interest Groups and the Third Sector SIG, please visit: http://www.theorsociety.com/Pages/SpecialInterest/SpecialInterestList.aspx


The third sector SIG has been running successfully for many years hosting a number of well attended events. If you have an interest in Operational Research and the third sector please get in touch with Hope.Meadows@theorsociety.com to find out more. 

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

A call for volunteers: 'Be a volunteer language editor - be an OR hero'

Here's a little ditty written by Dr James Bleach
Dr James Bleach is a Senior Analyst who applies analytical and modelling techniques to generate high quality, objective and robust evidence that informs UK Government policy makers and enables them to make better decisions. In addition to being the Founder and Managing Editor of the ōbex project, James, whose academic background is in Astrophysics, has also been a member of the Editorial Board for the science journal Open Physics since 2003, and a Language Editor for Paladyn. Journal of Behavioral Robotics since 2013.



Abstract:
Opportunity to support the ōbex project – a free language editing service for operational researchers from non-English speaking regions seeking publication in an English language journal.

Full article:
Be a volunteer language editor - be an OR hero

On the 8th September 2016 I was called a hero by a relative stranger who also requested that he have his photograph taken with me - it has to be said, this has not been a very common occurrence in my over 13 year career in Operational Research. 

It was the final day of the Operational Research Society Annual Conference (OR58), and the reason for my temporary celebrity was the language editing support I had arranged for the author of one of the papers published in the conference Keynote Papers Handbook, for which I was the Managing Editor.

I was struck by how appreciative the author was of the support he had been given. In fact a number of contributors to the handbook had expressed their thanks for the language editing support my editorial team had provided, and over the course of the conference I discussed with them the issues they sometimes faced getting published in English language journals.

Following the conference, I decided it was time to apply my editorial experience more extensively within the field of Operational Research – and so in October 2016, with the support of a high calibre editorial team, the ōbex project was officially launched (www.theobexproject.co.uk).

the ōbex project is a free language editing service for operational researchers from non-English speaking regions seeking publication in an English language journal. The word ōbex is Latin for barrier (obstacle, hurdle, etc.) – and so is used to represent the barrier to publication that the English language can be for some operational researchers.

I am now seeking to expand the editorial team by recruiting a number of additional volunteer language editors to support the project.
The Skills volunteer language editors require are:
    -Excellent attention to detail – such as being able to correct mistakes in grammar, spelling, punctuation, and ensuring consistency of terminology.
     -Delivering to deadlines.
Volunteer language editors are not required to be highly experienced operational researchers as these are language editing rather than technical editing roles.
Time commitment:
An initial estimate is between 1 and 4 manuscripts per year (each typically between 5 and 15 pages). Initially the number of manuscripts may be towards the lower end –  and may even remain so depending on the long term level of engagement from the international community and the size of the expanded editorial team.  

Volunteer language editors are expected to complete the review of a manuscript within 5-10 days of accepting the task, depending on the author's requirements. 

If you are interested in being considered for one of these volunteer roles please send an email with a short statement containing your background and any relevant experience (just a paragraph or two will a suffice) to Dr James Bleach, the managing editor of the ōbex project, at the following address:


And also please Cc the project Gmail address:




Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Updated free software/analytical tools available to O.R professionals


As Pro Bono O.R continues to help third sector organisations, our volunteers endlessly solve diverse problems using a range of software and analytical tools. We have compiled an evolving list of software tools which help to solve different types of problem. These tools are useful, not only for those working on our third sector projects, but also for O.R professionals looking to enhance their O.R. toolkit.

These software tools cover a variety of analytical modelling techniques, including: statistical analysis, data mining, system dynamics and forecasting. The list so far includes over 65 tools across a range of areas including:

·         Statistical analysis (e.g. PSPP, R)
·         Data visualisation (e.g. D3, Gephi, Vizable)
·         Geospatial and mapping (e.g. QGIS, GDAL, MapsData)
·         Programming languages (e.g. Python, Ruby)
·         Databases (e.g. PostGres, SQLlilte, ArangoDB)
·         Optimisation (e.g. Pyomo, OpenSolver)
·         Simulation (e.g. SimPy, Insight Maker)
·         Supply Chain (e.g. OpenBoxes, Odoo)



The list is ever-evolving and we would welcome further contributions or to hear about any tools or software you have successfully used in the past. Ideally the software should be free to use. Please email any suggestions to hope.meadows@theorsociety.com.


If you want to find out more about volunteering for a project, please visit http://www.theorsociety.com/Pages/Probono/Probono.aspx for more info.

Friday, 9 June 2017

Pro Bono OR volunteers required for new project with Hestia Housing


Hestia Housing
Project summary:
Project: The Hestia Approach Performance & Impact Framework - To create a database which can record, capture and analyse customer insights or feedback from up to 90 services encompassing up to 8 client groups and five service models. The data will be qualitative and quantitative.

Time commitment: approx. 10 days, though this will need to be checked by the volunteer in the light of information gathered at their first meeting.
Location: London
Please read project scope and if you feel you are able to offer your assistance please complete the application form and return along with your CV to hope.meadows@theorsociety.com by Friday 23rd June.
Information about the organisation:
Charitable objectives:
Our mission is to deliver high quality and empowering housing, support, protection and care services in partnership with service users and local communities.
Main activities of the organisation
We support people fleeing domestic abuse, people who have been trafficked, people with mental health, older people, young people, ex-offenders, people with learning difficulties and physical disabilities. Delivering support via accommodation based, outreach, community engagement and advocacy services.
If you would like to volunteer on a project but are not able to commit to the full time requirement please let me know as it may be possible to pair you up with another analyst.  Lastly if you would like to work on a project as part of a pair or with the support of a mentor please indicate on your application and we try to facilitate this. 
I look forward to hearing from you and once again thank you for your help and support.
For further information about the scheme please visit: http://www.theorsociety.com/Probono  

Thursday, 8 June 2017

A Dashboard for Managing Resources




Two volunteers have found success whilst working with The National Autistic Society.

NAS wanted to know what issues are most important or causing the greatest difficulties for autistic people. NAS run online surveys as well as other sources of intelligence, including Facebook, Twitter, helpline calls, NAS website hits, publication requests, media coverage and so on. 

NAS sought help to find methods of sifting and analyzing this information systematically for trends and hot topics- helping with efficiency and demand. 

After identifying the problem through focus group our volunteers designed an Excel based dashboard to view how resources were used across support channels. The dashboard is easy to input and can be used on a weekly basis.

Details of the project can be seen in the case study slide below. For more information about Pro Bono O.R. please visit www.theorsociety.com/probono





Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Processing Donations More Quickly




In March of this year, two Pro Bono OR volunteers spent seven days supporting The Stroke Association to confirm an efficient and effective handling of donations in order to help achieve their targets.

The Stroke Association is very necessary. The organisation provides services and education to local communities, as well as campaigning and research on a national scale. 'There are more than 100,000 strokes in the UK each year; that is around one stroke every five minutes.'

Whilst validating the current process, volunteers were able to identify operational 'bottlenecks' that could be refocused to improve and speed up the operational layout. At the completion of the project one volunteer said 'I liked working on something different and on something which could benefit my career.'

Details of the project can be seen in the case study slide below. For more information about Pro Bono O.R. please visit www.theorsociety.com/probono





Friday, 19 May 2017

There's a new Sheriff in town and she's taking over Pro Bono OR

Hi all,

Just to let you know, I will be the new face of Pro Bono OR, taking over from Felicity McLeister. I’m aware that I have some big shoes to fill, following in the footsteps of Fliss, but as she moves onto another role within the organisation I will do my best to sustain the progress that Pro Bono continues to make.   

I am joining the team with a new head to OR. My experience includes events and project management within the third sector, here in the UK and internationally. Following the completion of my Masters in International Relations Global Security and Development, I moved to Australia to work for a charity which concentrated on building sustainable communities in Uganda. Upon my return to the UK I worked for a national charity for 2 years, setting up and delivering a government youth programme. I can see that OR can be used in any sector, but OR is both a want and a need within the third sector to those with charitable aims. I am looking forward to seeing Pro Bono OR help make improvements which are both transparent and sustainable.

As business continues as usual, don't forget to get your ticket to the Analytics Summit on 15th June, 9am-5pm, IET, London. Speakers include Charles Kennelly, Claire Thompson and Peter Wells. Go to the website to purchase your ticket and find out more information  http://www.analytics-events.co.uk/ #GetInvolved


Monday, 13 March 2017

Supporting The Future Melting Pot

Please find details of two new projects with The Future Melting Pot. 

The Future Melting Pot

Project summary (1):
Project: Transforming Communities: Statistical exploration of disadvantaged communities in the local area with the aim of developing strategies to address challenges.

Time commitment: max. 3 days

Location: All work can be carried out remotely

Please read project scope and if you feel you are able to offer your assistance please complete the application form and return to me along with your CV by midday on Monday 27th March.

Project summary (2):
Project: Transforming Futures Making People. To aid the organisation to:
1.      Develop strategy and operational improvements
2.      Improve methods of working with multiple stakeholders

Time commitment: approx. 5 days, though this will need to be checked by the volunteer in the light of information gathered at their first meeting

Location: Birmingham

Please read project scope and if you feel you are able to offer your assistance please complete the application form and return to me along with your CV by midday on Monday 27th March.

Information about the organisation:

Charitable objectives:
To improve the lives of marginalized young people (16-24 year olds) and communities.

Main activities of the organisation
We develop and deliver evidence-based research, involving young people to design targeted programs.
We facilitate the collaboration between organisations, providing a platform that ensures their efficient use of resources to maximize the social impact.
We align with partners delivering public services to achieve their strategic priorities.
We help the private sector organisations to make an impact by helping them to deliver Corporate Social Responsibility strategies and to engage with the wider community.

If you would like to volunteer on a project but are not able to commit to the full time requirement please let me know as it may be possible to pair you up with another analyst.  Lastly if you would like to work on a project as part of a pair or with the support of a mentor please indicate on your application and we try to facilitate this. 

I look forward to hearing from you and once again thank you for your help and support.

For further information about the scheme please visit: http://www.theorsociety.com/Probono  

Thursday, 9 March 2017

Pro Bono project- Sustainability through management transformation

Please find details of a new project below with Brandon Trust.  I have provided a brief summary and then attached a detailed project scope.  

Brandon Trust

Project summary:

Project: Sustainability through management transformation – Helping Brandon Trust design a lean, efficient, fit-for-purpose management structure to lead and deliver vital services in the context of falling social care budgets.

Time commitment: approx. 5 days, though this will need to be checked by the volunteer in the light of information gathered at their first meeting

Location: Bristol

Please read project scope and if you feel you are able to offer your assistance please complete the application form and return to me along with your CV by midday on Wednesday 23rd March.

Information about the organisation:

Charitable objectives:
Brandon Trust exists to improve lifestyles, opportunities and to deliver greater independence for people with learning disabilities. The Trust’s central focus is on places to live, life skills, jobs and educational opportunities for individuals with learning disabilities. 

Main activities of the organisation
Residential homes/supported living, residential nursing and care homes, enterprises, outreach services, employment services, day center’s supporting children

If you would like to volunteer on a project but are not able to commit to the full time requirement please let me know as it may be possible to pair you up with another analyst.  Lastly if you would like to work on a project as part of a pair or with the support of a mentor please indicate on your application and we try to facilitate this. 

For further information about the scheme please visit: http://www.theorsociety.com/Probono  

Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Connecting professional analysts with good causes - for free! Request support today

O.R. volunteers can help third sector organisations make better decisions, improve efficiency, improve effectiveness, and tackle the problems that are keeping their top team awake at night, applying scientific approaches to the organisations specific circumstances, people, data and needs.


To find our more or request support, please visit www.theorsociety.com/probono

This support is available to all UK based Third Sector organisations - please spread the word!

Monday, 20 February 2017

Free event: Applications of Systems Thinking

THIRD SECTOR SPECIAL INTEREST GROUP

APPLICATIONS OF SYSTEMS THINKING

Friday 17th March 2017, 14.00-17.00
(Arrival/registration/tea and coffee from 13.30)
CAN-Mezzanine 7-14 Great Dover Street, London, SE1 4YR

Systems thinking is a powerful way of understanding the world, and accordingly, systems approaches can be powerful ways of addressing real-world problems. This half-day event is an opportunity to hear from people who are using systems approaches to address community and social issues, and to discuss the potential and the challenges of such approaches.

Speakers include Gerald Midgley, Professor of Systems Thinking at Hull University Business School, talking about resolving stakeholder conflict in a range of community settings; Miles Weaver from Edinburgh Napier University on how systems approaches have helped identify better ways for communities and socially responsible businesses to build value; Penny Lawrence, Deputy Director of Oxfam, on applying systems thinking to Oxfam’s change programme; and Rob Abercombie, Director of Research and Consultancy at New Philanthropy Capital, discussing key lessons from the NPC/Lankelly Chase study of systems change for addressing social problems.

The event should be of interest to third sector managers interested in how systems thinking can be applied to their own challenges; to OR professionals interested in learning about different systems methodologies and their applications; and to anybody interested in how systems thinking can help us to drive change.

To book: The event is free to attend but we expect this to be a very popular event and space is limited, so places must be booked in advance, by visiting: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/or-society-third-sector-sig-applications-of-systems-thinking-tickets-31120017811

For further information please contact:   felicity.mcleister@theorsociety.com

Provisional timetable
2.00-2.05              Introduction/welcome
2.05-2.45              Gerald Midgley
2.45-3.15               Miles Weaver
3.15-3.30               break
3.30-4.00              Penny Lawrence
4.00-4.30              Rob Abercrombie

4.30-5.00              discussion, informal networking

Thursday, 16 February 2017

New projects requiring volunteers with #ProBonoOR


Please find details of a new project below with Hestia, plus several other projects we are also recruiting volunteers for.  

Hestia

Project summary:
Project: The Hestia Approach Performance & Impact Framework - To create a performance and impact framework to measure the impact of the Hestia Approach transformation project within the organisation and upon strategic objectives
Time commitment: approx. 10 days, though this will need to be checked by the volunteer in the light of information gathered at their first meeting
Location: London
Please read project scope and if you feel you are able to offer your assistance please complete the application form and return to me along with your CV by midday on Wednesday 28th February.

Information about the organisation:
Charitable objectives:
Our mission is to deliver high quality and empowering housing, support, protection and care services in partnership with service users and local communities.
Main activities of the organisation
We support people fleeing domestic abuse, people who have been trafficked, people with mental health, older people, young people, ex offenders, people with learning difficulties and physical disabilities. Delivering support via accommodation based, outreach, community engagement and advocacy services.

We also have three other projects we are still recruiting for.  If you require the project scope as an attachment please sent me an email request.

NIDAS

Project summary:
Project: Activity analysis & cost recovery model: Develop a high-level process model of the organisation that can be used to capture where staff spend their time. For frontline delivery activities, quantify the proportion of costs that are recovered.
Time commitment: approx. 5 days, though this will need to be checked by the volunteer in the light of information gathered at their first meeting
Location: Nottinghamshire (a lot of the work could be carried out remotely)
Please read project scope and if you feel you are able to offer your assistance please complete the application form and return to me along with your CV by midday on Wednesday 22nd February.

Information about the organisation:
Charitable objectives:
Area of benefit: Survivors of current or historic domestic abuse
Our core purpose is our fundamental reason for being
·        To keep people safe emotionally and physically
Main activities of the organisation: 
Support and advocacy, 1-1, group, specialist programs

EBP South

Project summary:
Project: Develop Performance Dashboard - EBP would like help to develop a Performance Dashboard to be used for internal management and Board Reporting.
Time commitment: approx. 4 days, though this will need to be checked by the volunteer in the light of information gathered at their first meeting
Location: Portsmouth (could be carried out remotely)
Please read project scope and if you feel you are able to offer your assistance please complete the application form and return to me along with your CV by midday on Wednesday 22nd February.

Information about the organisation:
Charitable objectives:
For the Public Benefit, to advance, promote and assist in the effective education and development of young people and adults in order to develop their individual capabilities, competencies, skills and understanding in subjects of educational value including career and life skills together with collaboration with local businesses and business organisations in England and Wales in such ways as the charity Trustees think fit.
Main activities of the organisation: 
Work Experience placements; Mentoring programmes for young people linked to volunteers from business; employability programmes in schools; enterprise activities; career inspiration events; careers guidance and education.

Fulham Good Neighbours

Project summary:
Project: Assessing the impact of Fulham Good Neighbours
Time commitment: approx. 5 days, though this will need to be checked by the volunteer(s) in the light of information gathered at their first meeting.
Location: Fulham, SW6 7QT.
Please read project scope and if you feel you are able to offer your assistance please complete the application form and return to me asap (there is currently no deadline as the organisation is happy to wait).

Information about the organisation:
Charitable objectives:
Our aims are to enable elderly, disabled and vulnerable people to:
-        Live independently and to contribute to society,
-        Help overcome isolation and loneliness,
-        Be at the heart of the local community.
Main activities of the organisation: 
Fulham Good Neighbours support mainly older people, including those with dementia, with practical tasks at home such as basic DIY, gardening, and decorating. We do what any good neighbour would: collect medication, escort to appointments, accompany shopping and take care of pets to name just a few of our free services delivered by over 50 volunteers, many of whom are older people.

If you would like to volunteer on a project but are not able to commit to the full time requirement please let me know as it may be possible to pair you up with another analyst.  

Lastly if you would like to work on a project as part of a pair or with the support of a mentor please indicate on your application and we try to facilitate this. 

I look forward to hearing from you and once again thank you for your help and support.

For further information about the scheme please visit: http://www.theorsociety.com/Probono