SLC insight uses sector leading tools and techniques to support our clients’ projects. This includes: options appraisals, business planning, GIS mapping, market analysis and supply and demand analysis, research and consultation.
SLC staff developed the Improvement and Development Agency’s (IDeA) guidance on business cases and options appraisals that are still being used as best practice by the sector today. Members of the SLC team have been involved in a number of important business cases and options appraisals over the last 10 years.
We bring together industry-leading business planning, organisational management modelling and leading options appraisal techniques to ensure clients end up with the best possible outcome and a sustainable legacy.
We work with our clients to develop a full understanding of the current state of their services and use our sector-leading financial modelling and assessment tools to assess the financial performance of the service against other potential options.
Our senior team’s operational, client-side and consulting experience provides a strong basis for our financial modelling assumptions (we have a proven track record of getting our numbers right) and for assessing the non-financial performance of the service.
Our options appraisals are an iterative process, focusing on the areas and the criteria that are most important to the client and weighting the evaluation criteria accordingly. Facilitated workshops are often a feature of the process, allowing the client to take ownership of the evaluation and recommendations supported by a strong evidence base and clear rationale.
Options appraisals are often the first stage in a vitally important decision-making process that can end up saving a local authority £ millions. We recognise their significance and have invested in developing appropriately robust approaches to getting the right outcome for clients.
Business planning is fundamental to a feasibility study and we take it very seriously. While it may be easy to pull some numbers together to make a business case look good, taking responsibility for them is a different ball game. We know that a business plan should only be judged successful or not after a project is up and running and in steady state.
We’ve developed business plans for some of the UK’s most successful leisure facilities, including the Olympic Aquatics Centre and the Orford Jubilee Neighbourhood Hub. We’ve also developed shadow business plans for a number of our successful leisure procurements in addition to countless feasibility studies.
Unlike most of our competitors, we have experience of operating leisure facilities and we apply this practically to our business plans, taking full account of modelling risk and sensitivity to ensure resilience is built into a business model. If you’re going to be investing millions, you don’t want to be crossing your fingers.
We also have access to a number of current operational business plans from modern facilities which can inform and shape the development of business plans. We’re no great fans of benchmarking because typically the families of facilities that are compared are often old, tired and underperforming. New facilities deliver far greater cost savings and income generation, so a smarter approach is needed.
We use experienced senior staff to develop the plans informed by our SLC Insight tools and analysis. We’ll also work closely with clients on ensuring there is a collective ownership of the business plan; this is often an immersive process.
Our business plans have a reputation for accuracy and commercial reliability. In short we treat the plan like it is our own money.
We use market-leading BasemapTM Geographic Information System software to assist options evaluation and decision-making, often to support our market analysis work. This includes competition analysis, geospatial and geodemographic analysis, catchment and drive-time analysis.
Our mapping supports clients with developing a greater understanding of the market in which their facilities are operating, the strategic need for facilities and services and the best ways to target and direct their offer. It is used in developing robust market analysis and latent demand models that help clients plan and direct their services, based on current and future needs taking into account realistic travel time catchments and the specific demands generated by the communities which they cover.
The software allows us to support our findings with clear visual aids demonstrating the distribution, coverage, accessibility and reach of current and proposed facilities and geodemographic trends. Each map is tailored to suit the needs of the client and support key elements of analysis and decision making.
Supported by our BasemapTM software, we use GIS to support our market analysis work, which helps you to answer some important questions:
- What is your real catchment after taking account of travel time?
- Who are your competitors in terms of overlapping catchments?
- Where are your customers coming from and who are you failing to reach?
- Where should you site your new facility to maximise market penetration, participation and accessibility?
- What is the profile of different types of customers and where exactly are they?
- What do the residents in your catchment area want and what are their specific needs in terms of pricing, marketing, health, transport, etc?
- What impact will any closure of facilities have on local residents?
Our latent demand models for leisure activities such as health and fitness and swimming lessons enables clients to take population growth and demographic changes into account and approach the process of developing new facilities with real confidence.
Supply and demand analysis
Robust supply and demand analysis forms a fundamental part of the evidence base for many of projects, from strategies to feasibility studies. It is vital to be able to understand what provision is currently in place, how this is currently performing relative to the population it serves, and what provision is needed now and in the future.
Supply and demand studies can also stand alone in the form of playing pitch strategies and indoor built facilities strategies. These are technical studies that provide an overview of need and provision for a particular area. However, we prefer to apply our efforts more strategically, developing needs assessments as part of a relevant evidence base for specific projects rather than assessing the balance within arbitrary borders.
Our studies draw on the best practice guidance developed by Sport England and make use of a range of our Insight tools to gather, process and assess the best available data for your study. Our team’s wide-ranging experience in undertaking consultation with stakeholders of all kinds gives us the skills to ensure that information of value and relevance is obtained through meaningful engagement, rather than going through an arbitrary tick-box exercise.
Our supply and demand analyses are tailored to meet the needs of each specific project and ensure that your project is supported by the best available data. SLC Insight has been developed to provide clients with the information they need to support a wider programme of work, so our studies are individually designed to be strategically relevant and provide real added-value.
SLC’s team undertakes a range of research functions to support projects.
We can support clients with developing methodologies for user and non-user research to ensure consultation is relevant and robust.
We have developed a large database of UK and global case studies and best practice which we share with our clients and use to broaden their thinking on the potential of a new project. This is particularly effective in relation to new facility developments. For example, we have developed models to calculate car parking requirements and latent demand for specific activities, such as health and fitness and swimming lessons.
Our research function also supports our business planning work to ensure that prices are positioned optimally and take account of competitors.
SLC is the industry leader in developing prioritisation support to inform strategy development. With pressure on council budgets increasing, we can support councils in determining which investments will have the greatest impact. For example, we recently supported a London borough in reviewing its plan for sport to assist in prioritising investment for 2013/14. We developed an evaluation tool that enabled all sports within the borough to be assessed and provided data to support resource allocation, all linked to the development of a robust implementation plan.
Community and stakeholder consultation
Engagement with those who have a stake in a project and who will be affected by its outcome is vital. At SLC we understand the importance of research in underpinning need and highlighting the potential social impact of a project. Research shows that engagement with communities and stakeholders on a project is likely to increase the participation and overall buy-in. We have the capacity and knowledge to do this across numerous platforms in a cost-effective way. We then use our expertise and analytical skills to provide our clients with the most useful and insightful feedback.
Key community stakeholder services include: online surveys, focus groups, street surveys and direct consultation.
Key strategic stakeholder services include: facilitation, senior-level consultation and think tanks (round tables).