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Invitation to Tender – Power Partner

We are looking for a team to support and critique us in shifting power in our work.


Research and development

Closing date

02 September 2022

Interview dates

w/c 5 September or 12 September (availability dependent)

Note: The deadline for applications has been extended to the 2nd September 2022.

About us

Impact on Urban Health is part of Guy’s & St Thomas’ Foundation, a charitable foundation based in South London.  We address health inequalities by focusing on a few complex health issues that disproportionately impact people living in cities – childhood obesity, multiple long-term conditions, the health effects of air pollution, and children’s mental health. Most of this work is specifically focussed on the boroughs of Lambeth and Southwark, and learnings are shared in a national and international context. 

The areas of health inequalities are addressed in programmatic structures. Additional to the programmes, there is a Research and Development team, which looks at emerging themes around health in our context (both current and future issues) and introduces new ways of working that can be embedded across the organisation.  

Background to the work

As a foundation we are aware of the power imbalances when working in lots of different contexts:  

  1. Grantmaking – The work we do when funding programmes and projects to tackle health inequalities in Lambeth and Southwark, the decision making in strategies and programmes, the relationship management with partners, how we interpret learnings and insights from projects. 
  2. The endowment – where we invest our funds for financial returns and the decision-making frameworks around that. 
  3. Governance and culture – how we set up the environments for staff to thrive and do their best work, both when it comes to intentional processes and structures, and when it comes to how we work and interact with each other. 

All these aspects are important; however, this brief is particularly relevant to the grantmaking aspect of our work, particularly the decision making and strategy, which falls under Impact on Urban Health’s scope. There is a recognition that too many decisions of how funding could be allocated are sitting internally and with little incorporation of perspectives and expertise from individuals and communities that have first-hand experience of the issues Impact on Urban Health looks to address. There is some expertise that exists internally through some staff, however there is a long way to go to ensure that it is truly centred in our grantmaking. 

In the next 12 months and beyond, Impact on Urban Health wants to have tested new approaches to shifting power so that we have mechanisms for people and communities from Lambeth and Southwark to shape our work. These 12 months will mark the start of our power journey that will likely last a lot longer. We have already started testing ways to do this, through devolved decision making and participatory processes in small areas of Impact on Urban Health’s work. There is a recognition that we are not experts in this work, however, and would like to recruit a power partner to be able to support and critique us on our journey.  

Work overview

With that context, we are looking for a team to support on a two-phase project.  Below is an idea of what the work could look like, but we would like to offer the space to shape the project with the partner. 

Phase 1: Rapid research

1. External research, primarily desk-based, covering: 

  • Definitions and interpretations of power in philanthropy, ‘shifting power’ and empowering communities through grantmaking. 
  • Examples of how ‘shifting’ power or ‘empowering’ communities has been done well (and not well) in philanthropic contexts, both in the UK and overseas. 
  • Examples of foundations, consulting bodies and individuals who have expertise in power in our context both UK based and international. 

2. Internal ‘audit’, involving conversations with the team, covering:

  • Conversation with staff members, programme directors in Impact on Urban Health and potentially external partners to understand structures and practices in the organisation that enable funding decisions, e.g., strategy, approval processes, project development, relationship management. 
  • Review of Impact on Urban Health’s current attempts at ‘shifting’ power within specific projects. 
  • Understanding where “first-hand experience” already exists in the organisation and in projects and if it is being incorporated appropriately. 

We would expect the output to be a report and presentation that covers: 

  1. Brief literature review of existing research and evidence covering concepts around power, promising approaches to shifting power in philanthropy and opportunities areas for new approaches. 
  2. Stakeholder review of key actors nationally and locally who can be approached to support developing a programme of activity to address the topic. 
  3. Report demonstrating areas of opportunity within Impact on Urban Health to address its power imbalances in grantmaking. 

Phase 2: Recruitment and scoping

This phase will likely start after phase 1 but could commence before phase 1 is complete (at milestone 1a for example). 

  1. Support the recruitment of additional power partner(s) for the project. This is in recognition that alternative perspectives, perhaps from international contexts could inform us in our ways of working and push us to be more ambitious and innovative. 
  2. Collaborate with the power partner(s) to scope and prioritise work in Impact on Urban Health. 
  3. Embark on subsequent phases of power work alongside partners and Impact on Urban Health. We imagine this will be well informed through conversations with partners and agreed with Impact on Urban Health in 2a and 2b. Ideally this work would be continual, with 12 months earmarked (for both phase 1 and 2) but with a strong likelihood of subsequent work thereafter. 

In recognition that this work could potentially end up being very broad in scope, we would anticipate working closely with the partner at kick off stage and throughout the duration of the project to ensure the remit and level of detail is appropriate. 

The role can be conducted remotely, but there may be opportunity for face to face if geography allows. 

What we are looking for

In selecting a power partner, we will consider:  

  • Demonstrable knowledge of subject matter 
  • Demonstrable experience of working with foundations or in philanthropy on the topics of power. 
  • Demonstrable understanding of Black and minoritised communities in relation to health inequalities, social inequalities and community development. 
  • Capacity to take on a large and dynamic piece of work that has space to change and grow 
  • Knowledge of London or South London is a bonus. 

Budgets and timelines

We have budgeted circa £150,000 for phase 1 and phase 2, which covers 12 months of work. We imagine the work to be completed in the following timeframes: 

  • Phase 1- 2-4 months from start date. 
  • Phase 2a and 2b, (Recruitment and collaboration)- 2-4 months. 
  • Phase 2c, subsequent power work up to the 12 months from start date of Phase 1. 

Next Steps

We would request the following information to be sent to Farid Kelekun by the 2nd September 2022. To ensure the application process is as accessible as possible, we are keeping the requirements quite brief. In no more than 3 pages, please consider the following: 

  • Details of your organisation and the team who would be working directly on this project. 
  • Your understanding of the issues around power and power shifting and the vision for how this could be explored in our context. 
  • Evidence of recent and relevant experience around power and power shifting 
  • Proposed deliverables, with a brief outline project plan and description of your proposed approach. 
  • Any data/stakeholders you consider necessary to have access to, to complete this work. 
  • Indicative budget 

Subsequent timelines will be as follows: 

  1. Application deadline: 2nd September 2022
  2. 1 x 45-minute interview- week commencing 5th September or 12th September (subject to people’s availability). 
  3. Contract confirmed: mid-September
  4. Contracted work period: at the partner’s earliest convenience for 12 months. 

If there are any interim questions, please do ask. Questions can be sent to Farid Kelekun.

Farid Kelekun

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