Invitation for tenders: Post Lockdown Staff Support

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Invitation for tenders: Post Lockdown Staff Support

We are seeking an excellent provider of staff development and coaching to create and provide a package of support for all Anne Frank Trust staff as we return from lockdown from August to December 2020.

Background: the Anne Frank Trust during lockdown

Founded in 1991, the Anne Frank Trust UK is an education charity that uses the life and work of Anne Frank to empower young people to challenge all forms of prejudice. We have strong research evidence of our impact, and in the last year we have worked in 216 schools, 18 community settings and 9 prisons, reaching over 120,000 people in total. Our core staff team of around a dozen staff is usually based in an office in Kentish Town. Our front-line education staff work from home around the country, with a regional manager and a project officer based in Scotland and in each of five regions of England.

When schools closed for coronavirus in March 2020, we became unable to deliver our education programmes or to use the money that funds them. We introduced an interim budget and operational plan to maintain some delivery and profile online, while making savings to safeguard the long-term viability of the charity. We furloughed all our frontline staff in early April 2020, made four redundancies, and froze recruitment to several vacant posts. Nine members of staff – management, fundraising, communications and finance – have continued working, based at home and on 80% of hours and salary. Furloughed staff have been kept in touch through regular email updates, a fortnightly lunch-time social on zoom for all staff, and one-off consultations about funding bids for future work.

These interim arrangements have proved to be very effective. We have adapted our day to day operations to home-based and video-linked working, introduced online initiatives to maintain contact with schools and young people, invented new socially distanced programmes in preparation for when schools reopen, and had enough success with fundraising to make further redundancies unlikely. Non-furloughed staff are resuming 100% hours and salary from 1 August, and furloughed staff will be returning to work incrementally during August and September, with all staff expected to be on 100% from 1 October.

However, while staff morale has been fine for much of the time, lockdown has often been a stressful and draining experience. Several staff have lost friends and relatives to the virus, and some have been ill themselves. Staff with children have had the stresses of home schooling. Many staff were shocked and unsettled by the redundancies. Many furloughed staff felt cut off from the jobs they love and frustrated at being unable to work, while most non-furloughed staff worked significantly longer than their 80% hours. This understandably led at times to some tensions between the two parts of the team, exacerbating an already identified need to improve internal communication between the London office and the education staff based around the country.

At the same time, the murder of George Floyd and the subsequent rise of the Black Lives Matter movement have raised complex feelings, especially for black members of staff, and have posed new challenges to everyone working in anti-prejudice education.

The present proposal has been developed in response to this context, and all staff have been consulted about it. In addition, the trustees have agreed to close the charity for the last week of July, so that all non-furloughed staff get a break before furloughed staff begin their phased return. This week of special leave is a one-off token of appreciation that aims to promote the wellbeing of non-furloughed staff, and to help create parity around leave (as furloughed staff will return with their annual leave entitlement accumulated from the furlough period).

Aims of the staff support package

1. Wellbeing. To support each of us to heal from the strains of lockdown – re-establishing appropriate boundaries between personal and professional where needed, identifying any ongoing support needs in relation to work.

2. Cohesion. To promote collaboration and communication across the team, aiming for a balance of professional clarity and good-humoured warmth – e.g. between furloughed and non-furloughed colleagues, between the head office and regional posts, and between staff and management. This will feed into an Internal Communications plan to be developed in early 2021 (one of several planned developments under Reaching our Goals: the Anne Frank Trust’s Strategic Plan 2020-2022, which has largely been put on hold during lockdown).

3. Effectiveness. To help us all find the motivation, energy and resilience to get the Anne Frank Trust quickly back up to full operations, recognising the significant challenges that we face in the autumn of 2020 and spring of 2021 – e.g. meeting delivery targets for Government funding contracts, re-engaging with schools, adapting or re-inventing our programmes for socially distanced delivery, preparing for future lockdowns, and above all meeting the needs of young people who have been separated, isolated and in many cases traumatised.

4. Equalities. To help establish outstanding equalities practice both within the charity and through our service delivery – e.g. by reflecting on lessons from the Black Lives Matter movement, by each of us considering how our individual identities and experiences connect with work (especially for staff delivering anti-prejudice education in schools), and by identifying any support needs especially for Black and Minority Ethnic staff. This will feed into a full Equalities Audit and Strategy that we will be commissioning in the autumn of 2020 (as per our Reaching our Goals strategy).

5. Professional development. To help us all identify learning from lockdown and learning needs for going forward, and to start meeting some of those learning needs where possible, feeding into a full professional development package that we aim to commission from 2021 (as per Reaching our Goals).

Elements of the support package

We are open to proposals from providers about what range and type of input would achieve these five aims, but we envisage that there will be two main types of input: (i) group sessions for shared learning and team-building and (ii) coaching for one-to-one support. Unless there is a major change in public health regulations, we expect that both types of session will take place by video-link online (we generally use Zoom).

i. Group sessions will be for all staff and also some for sub-groups or teams. One of the all-staff sessions should ideally take place on Tuesday 8 September 2020, which is in everyone’s diaries as the date of our termly whole staff day (although we suspect that a whole day may be too much if held online).

During the consultation about the package, staff made two requests for inclusion in the group sessions:

o An exercise such as Myers Briggs to help us identify and share our individual working styles.
o Some fun activities. (For our last staff day in Glasgow in April, which had to be cancelled, we had been planning a half-day treasure hunt around the city centre.)

ii. Coaching sessions for every individual member of staff. We would like each member of staff to have between two and four sessions between August and December (24 staff in all). While the content of these sessions will be confidential (within parameters of legality and safeguarding), we will want each member of staff to report back key learning points to their regular monthly one-to-one Support & Supervision meetings with their line manager, and for the provider to give an overview of needs and findings to the Senior Management Team and CEO.

As we lack ethnic diversity amongst our managers, we particularly want our BAME staff to be able to request a BAME coach, so that they can reflect together on how to promote equality within the Anne Frank Trust as a workplace.

For each individual member of staff, we suggest two key questions:

a) What have I learnt from lockdown?
b) What are my needs, aspirations and values going forward, especially in how I collaborate with colleagues?

These are the same questions that we will be putting to young people in new “Together Again” workshops that we are launching to promote social cohesion in schools as they reopen in August (Scotland) and September (England). In the school workshops, we will be starting with examples from Anne Frank’s Diary of her experiences of being socially isolated and her hopes and aspirations for the future. Extracts from the Diary might be equally powerful for working with staff. Certainly it will be helpful for our education staff to have undertaken themselves the learning process that they will then be leading in schools.

Specification for provider

We welcome proposals from organisations or consortia of individuals who meet the following criteria:

a) Relevant professional qualifications.
b) Highly developed expertise in staff support and development, including group facilitation and individual coaching or mentoring.
c) Substantial experience of having applied this expertise in voluntary or public sector settings.
d) Strong understanding of and commitment to equality and diversity.
e) A diverse range of coaches/mentors, especially so that BAME staff can ask for a BAME coach.
f) Appropriate organisational systems, including liability insurance, clear lines of accountability, and policies including confidentiality, safeguarding and complaints.
g) Capacity to begin the work in late August or early September 2020, and to complete by late November or early December 2020.
h) Ability to deliver value for money. We have budgeted £9,000 for this project in total. We will look favourably on proposals for a lower cost, but will consider higher proposals where a clear case is made.

Application process

Your submission should include:

• A statement setting out how you meet each of the eight criteria of the specification, including an indicative timeline for point (g) and an outline budget for point (h).
• A proposal showing briefly how you would meet the five aims of the staff support package.
• Details of two referees and when we may contact them.
• Supporting evidence of brief examples of your work, if you wish.

Send by email by 10am on Wednesday 12 August 2020 to:

Jonathan Bruck
Director of Resources
Anne Frank Trust UK

Shortlisted candidates will be invited to interviews by zoom during the week beginning 17 August.

You are welcome to contact Jonathan with any queries, but please note that the charity is closed for the week of 27 to 31 July.

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