Public services training

NCVO is keen to work with commissioners and local infrastructure organisations to help build the capacity of their local voluntary sector in bidding for and delivering public services.

We have a range of training offers, and can also devise a bespoke programme drawing from different courses.

If you’d like us to contact you about bringing these courses to your area please This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 020 7520 2411.

Course options

Commercial masterclass (two days)

This course focuses on commercial skills, working with the private sector, and working in supply chains. It is aimed at senior staff and trustees of organisations that are heading towards working in commercial supply chains or bidding competitively for public service contracts.

By the end of the course, delegates will have:

  • increased knowledge of the funding, policy and commissioning context for public service delivery
  • a better understanding of other sectors’ drivers, motivations and culture 
  • increased knowledge of the importance of good governance in contract delivery, and a better understanding of where their strengths and weaknesses may lie
  • a better understanding of key business processes and implications for contracting with the private sector.

The course covers the following topics:

  • Economic and policy context
  • Understanding the operating environment
  • Developing a commercially viable offer
  • Managing bids
  • Understanding and managing risk
  • Governance and performance management
  • Voluntary sector consortia

Preparation for commissioning (one day)

This one day course is for organisations that are seeking funding relationships with public-sector bodies, or wish to be able to influence how public services are designed and planned.

We have experience of running this popular one-day event for organisations working in the fields of:

  • health and social care
  • violence against women and girls
  • gangs, youth violence and drugs.

We can repurpose this content for any target audience, and we would work with relevant sector specialist organisations where necessary.

By the end of the course, delegates will have:

  • increased knowledge of the funding, policy and commissioning context for their sector
  • more awareness of how to use evidence and data to build a case for their work
  • more awareness of how to build stronger relationships with commissioners and potential partner organisations
  • a better understanding of other sectors’ drivers, motivations and culture 
  • a better understanding of how to be 'tender-ready'.

The course typically covers the following topics:

  • Policy context
  • Putting yourself in the customer’s shoes
  • Developing a commercially viable offer
  • Using data to build a business case
  • The bidding process – including a workshop using a tendering case study
  • Presentation from local commissioner followed by a Q and A
  • Consortium structures

This course works particularly well when timed to match a live commissioning opportunity, and we also recommend inviting a local commissioner as a guest speaker. We can also offer support to our local partner to make a case to commissioners to fund the course.

Consortium Masterclass (one day)

In many areas, public authorities are awarding large contracts, often requiring providers to work in partnership to deliver multiple and complex outcomes. This one day course will take delegates through everything they will need to do to establish a contract-ready consortium.

Delegates will increase their awareness of:

  • reasons for establishing a VCS consortium
  • practical steps to be taken to achieve a contract-ready consortium
  • obstacles and challenges to be prepared for.

The course covers the following topics:

  • Context and drivers
  • Operating models and governance
  • Legal forms
  • Consortium development process
  • Influencing commissioners
  • Engaging members
  • Funding the development phase

The masterclass will draw on real-life examples of good practice and lessons learned, and will provide those attending with information, resources and templates that they can use.

NCVO’s style of working with partner organisations

NCVO takes a collaborative approach to working in local areas. We feel that locally based organisations are best placed to understand the needs of their sector and are better able to promote courses and recruit the most appropriate delegates.

NCVO will provide guidelines for delivering these courses locally, based on feedback from delegates and previous partner organisations on what works and what doesn't.


For an ‘off-the-shelf’ course, NCVO’s fee to provide a trainer ranges from £600-900 per day, depending on circumstances, plus travel (and accommodation if an overnight stay is involved).

We would expect the partner infrastructure organisation to provide an appropriately knowledgeable member of their team to be ‘trainer’s assistant’, helping with tasks such as writing up on flipcharts and supporting group discussions. They do not need detailed experience of the subject area. Alternatively, NCVO can supply a second trainer for an additional fee.

Where course development is required, for example repurposing a course for a new target audience, we expect to negotiate an additional fee.

Complementing offers

NCVO and our partners have a wide range of options that are available free or at low-cost online, and we are happy for these to be promoted:

Track record

Read more about the response from our delegates, and the impact of our training.

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