• About Me

    Who I am and how I can help

    Who

    Lucy Devine (used to be Carter), Director, Wellspring Consulting

     

    I am a highly experienced governance adviser. I have more than 20 years’ experience of governance and change management delivery. I have supported governments of the UK, Africa, the UAE and Afghanistan, and held senior roles in a national and international NGO and a global consultancy firm. I now specialise in UK charities and Multi-Academy Trusts. I have wide experience of all relevant roles, having been both a CEO and a Trustee for different charities, as well as providing external governance advice.


    I am also a fully qualified Chartered Secretary, i.e. an Associate of the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators (the Institute of Governance). I was awarded a Distinction for the Company Law paper in the Institute of Governance exams, and the AW Goodbody prize for the best financial decision-making paper in the June 2016 exam cohort. I was shortlisted for Rising CEO in the 2014 Third Sector Awards. I speak Swahili and French, and I am a PRINCE2 practitioner.

    How I can help

     

    Our services

    I can make your organisation's governance actually help you do what you need to do, rather than be a cumbersome extra layer of extra work for me.

     

    I can also tick the boxes for you, and keep your regulator off your back.

     

    And I work with a group of trusted and highly skilled associates to support all your "enabling" functions. - between us, we cover HR, strategic IT, finance, communications (including digital) and coaching. I can always recommend someone to help you.

     

     

  • Help for MATs and ATs

    From full Governance review to dealing with Companies House

    Board support

    Making your Board run smoothly

    • Recruiting and induction of new Trustees and Members
    • Board review and skills audit, based on DfE and ESFA guidance
    • Creating and following a year Board calendar
    • Supporting Board and Committee meetings: drawing up the agenda, commissioning papers, quality assuring papers, circulating papers, attending meetings and taking Ofsted-ready minutes, and resolving any queries to do with the meeting.

    Wider governance

    Making the Trust run smoothly

    • A full Governance review, conducted with sympathy and pragmatism
    • Providing training and/or coaching for all those involved in governance so that they understand their responsibilities and liabilities as Directors and Trustees, Members and local Governors
    • Clarifying roles and responsibilities across the Trust, including drafting and implementing Schemes of Governance, Schemes of Delegation and Codes of Conduct

     

    Technical governance

    The dry bits

    • Risk management: identifying and describing risks and mitigation activities so that you can easily check progress
    • Support for audit and preparation of annual financial statements (writing the Statement of Governance, providing details of Trustees and Members)
    • Managing FOIA requests, new GDPR requirements, and providing summarised Board meeting minutes for governors
    • Managing declarations of interest and any conflicts of interest
    • Managing disclosure and transparency in line with requirements of Articles, Academies Financial Handbook and the Companies Act 2006 - ensuring that all the right information is on your websites
    • Keeping company statutory records up to date
    • Updating your Articles of Association if necessary, dealing with ESFA, Companies House and liaising with Members to agree the changes
    • Company secretary function, including all Companies House required returns, updates of appointments and resignations, and Persons of Significant Control declarations
    • Ensuring that Trustees are aware of all regulatory requirements, Company and Charity law, and DfE/ESFA/RSC/Ofsted guidance

     

     

    Local governance

    Ensuring stakeholders are a real part of governance

    • Developing communication channels between the Board and local governors
    • Recruiting and inducting governors
    • Arranging and supporting governors' meetings
    • Facilitating cross-Trust governor groups
    • Setting up PTAs and registering them as charities
    • Setting up Parent Forums and Parent Voice groups
    • Running parent surveys and "Listening surgeries"
    • Managing Parent Governor elections 
    • Developing Terms of Reference for all parent representatives, to ensure clarity of roles

     

     

  • Help for charities

    I advise charities; I've been a charity CEO, and I am currently a Trustee on two charity boards

    Governance review and support

    Helping you work better

    • A full Governance review, conducted with sympathy and pragmatism
    • Providing training and/or coaching for all those involved in governance so that they understand their responsibilities and liabilities as Directors and Trustees

    Technical support

    Ticking the boxes for you

    • Support for the governance elements of audit and preparation of annual financial statements
    • Managing FOIA requests, new GDPR requirements
    • Managing declarations of interest and any conflicts of interest
    • Managing disclosure and transparency in line with requirements the Charity Commission and the Companies Act 2006 - ensuring that all the right information is on your websites
    • Keeping company statutory records up to date
    • Updating your Articles of Association if necessary
    • Company secretary function, including all Companies House required returns, updates of appointments and resignations, and Persons of Significant Control declarations
    • Ensuring that Trustees are aware of all regulatory requirements, Company and Charity law

    Board support

    Supporting Trustees

    • Recruiting and induction of new Trustees and Members
    • Board review and skills audit
    • Creating and following a year Board calendar
    • Supporting Board and Committee meetings: drawing up the agenda, commissioning papers, quality assuring papers, circulating papers, attending meetings and taking minutes, and resolving any queries to do with the meeting.

    Risk management

    Sensible, realistic risk management

    • Helping you make your risk management proportionate to your organisation, and being realistic about what you can really predict
    • Refreshing and updating your risks: asking the right questions about mitigation and responsibility
    • Creating an online risk register that enables quick and easy analysis by workstream, person, impact, overall score, "Board-level risk", last updated etc.  This works on all devices including smartphones - it also lets staff add risks when they are not yet sure about the probability and impact assessment, but want to alert you to a potential problem
    • Coaching staff on how to think about risk in a way that actually helps your charity, rather than getting the risk register out of cold storage once or  twice a year
    • Refreshing Trustees' understanding of their responsibility
  • How It Works

    Supportive, friendly governance

    1

    Get in touch with me

    Give me a few details about what kind of help you need - or tell me that you know you need some help but you don't know what!

    Call, email, or fill out our form - see details below.

    2

    Discuss your needs

    Let's talk - I will come to meet you and you can tell me more
     

    3

    Choose what feels right

    I will summarise how I think I can help, and give you some options to choose from. You can go for none, some or all. There's no pressure.

  • Contact Us

    You can ask me for any governance help or advice

    Whenever you want
    07931 582594
  • Testimonials

    Supporting Multi-Academy Trusts

    From Board members

    "I have had the pleasure of working with Lucy in her position as governance adviser on a non-profit board on which I serve as a trustee. Lucy is without exception one of the most the efficient, effective and charming people I have worked with in this and similar functions."

     

    "The last year has seen significant progress in the effectiveness of the Board. Improvements to the quality of board papers, as well as the fact that papers are shared well in advance of meetings, has resulted in richer and more meaningful discussions of the trust's strategy, plans and progress"

     

    "I first met Lucy as a director of a MAT for which she was a consultant. I was impressed with her ability to make the technical aspects of MAT Governance clearly understandable to all of us involved with the Academy’s schools. I was struck by her attention to detail and her ability to make what could be considered to some, quite complicated issues , clearly understandable to us so that we have been able to conduct the Academy’s business efficiently."

     

    Supporting the Rwandan civil service with programme management and governance

    Director of International Development for Save the Children UK

    I worked alongside Lucy in Rwanda as part of Tony Blair's Africa Governance Initiative, where we provided strategic advice to the President and Prime Minister and capacity building support to their senior officials. Lucy was highly professional and widely respected for both her technical expertise and her personable approach to working alongside national staff. Her ability to adapt her advice according to her audience was particularly evident; she was as effective providing strategic advice to the President and his ministers as she was building the skills and confidence of lower capacity civil servants. Lucy's dedication and diligence, combined with her astute understanding of governance constraints, resulted in real progress in a short space of time, which in turn built the trust and confidence of our counterparts.

     

    Senior Adviser to the Senior Minister of the Afghan government, contracted to DfID

    From the consultant liaison lead

    Overall I found Lucy to be a very hard-working, committed and reliable colleague who threw herself into a job in very tough working conditions and with some very trying adversaries/colleagues in Afghan government. The job routinely required 12 plus hour days and we work six days a week here and have relatively little freedom of movement, so anyone who can deliver good work in this kind of place is pretty resilient and able. The job chiefly involved coordinating with lots of other people in the international community, different ministries and agencies to ensure that the policies for various different governance sectors (eg public financial management, local government, anti-corruption, justice) were delivered in good shape and on time.

    She was good fun to work with, intelligent and driven.

    Working with the UK government on a project to reduce re-offending

    From the consultant liaison lead

    Lucy Carter (NB this was my old name - I got married recently!) has previously worked with us over several years on a number of separate, yet related projects intended to set out the complex accountabilities and relationships of the three lead Government departments and their relevant agencies involved in the delivery of learning and skills provision for offenders.

     

    We appreciated and valued Lucy’s work. She helped to establish and instil a sense of collaborative working across a number of organisations, whose priorities were often competing and sometimes contradictory, at a time when this was missing. We found Lucy to be a most effective, reliable and amiable consultant; to us, she felt more part of the team than someone simply fulfilling a contract.

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