Professional and Office Administration

Professional and Office Administration

Implementing and managing a commissioned service is a complex organisation challenge. Without educating your people how to do it successfully, it's not only complex but also high risk. 

This strategic course goes way beyond those that merely offer insight into good stakeholder management. This course provides an understanding of the options available in establishing the commissioned environment and then provides insight in managing that relationship once it's established.  

This is a course that will be an intellectual challenge, designed to ensure you create commissioned services that work effectively. For example, we will challenge the idea that every commissioned service is a partnership. Some will be but do you know which ones? Will an alternative approach serve you better? Do you know enough about other approaches in order to make a rationlaised decision?

This course provides you with all of the information you need to make such choices and understand how to implement them. 

Based on robust academic research and using tried and tested best practice, this course delivers the ability to develop effective commissioning models. It intoduces tools and approaches that you will use for years to come. We are so confident about this that we offer a full money back guarantee should you not agree. 

The course will be delivered by an expert with real life experience in this field.  Engaging facilitation skills will be employed to make sure we connect with your staff. This is not a death by PowerPoint presentation; we will deliver a memorable and challenging learning experience. This course will prepare the way for successful commissioning by providing your organisation with the thought processes and tools to make a difference. 

Many managers don't realise there is a range of options available in the way they set up and manage commissioned services. Often they end up learning the hard way how to get the best out of the arrangement. There are of course good ways and bad ways of managing a commissioned service, but the truth is no one way will fit all situations and contracts.

We have identified four commissioning models, each of which are appropriate depending on different conditions. Each model outlines the differences in approach needed and shows the behavioural preferences required to manage the arrangement effectively. Here is an overview of the the four approaches:

1. The Colleague
The Colleague approach is the true partnership relationship model. It values reciprocal trust between the organisations. It needs individual and organisational rapport as well as a deep understanding of how to work in the light of cultural differences between you and the service provider. It requires intensively active account management in the relationship, both working with the full range of the customer's internal stakeholders, but also securing and allocating resources to joint improvement projects and overseeing the execution of those projects. Focus has to be on delivery not process, driving a collaborative performance based partnership.

2. The Capitalist
The Capitalist approach requires a very different style of management, appropriate when you are commissioning a service that is highly competitive within it's own market. This approach tends towards an increased toughness and moves away from a softer relationship (Colleague) style. In this model we should not expect to generate longer term joint working parties, instead the focus must be on meeting agreed performance, rather than driving breakthrough change. It's also vital that resource should be allocated to ensure our own organisational retention of knowledge in the commissioned discipline.

3. The Collector
The Collector approach is all about aggregation. It is the right approach when your leverage is low (as in situations where you are spending relatively small amounts on the service provision). In this model we have to focus much more on the role of building and consolidating. Process efficiency is also high on the agenda and it becomes critically important to reduce technical dependence on the provider.

4. The Controller
The Controller approach has a focus on assurance of supply and avoiding potential for cost escalation by the provider. This model comes into its own when you are in danger of the tail wagging the dog, the provider locking you in and calling all the shots. Risk analysis and mitigation need to be front of mind.

The success of your commissioned arrangements will be strongly determined by guiding your business in the most appropriate strategic and behavioural approach. Knowing when to apply each model is at the heart of this success.

The Agenda Topics

1. Determining the approach model

Understanding the options plus the conditions that drive those options.

2. The Colleague

3. The Capitalist

4. The Collector

5. The Controller

For each of these four model options we need to understand how to respond. There are 7 areas we will cover on in the course for each of the Colleague, Capitalist, Collector and Controller options:

1. Vision approach - About the overriding direction of the relationship

2. Behavioural approach - How our people behave

3. Organisational approach - How we structure our organisation

4. Objectives and goals approach - About the correct objectives and goals

5. Systems approach - The way we work with processes

6. Reward approach - How we reward the provider

7. Contractual approach - The way we structure the contract

Specific learning outcomes:

  • Reposition employees to think differently about commissioning relationships
  • Better prepared delegates to manage current and future commissioning arrangements
  • Provide new ways to view and behave when faced with differing commissioning scenarios
  • Break entrenched ways of working and build appropriate responses for future strategies
  • Improved engagement of the provider as they respond to new approaches
  • Understand what conditions serve to create successful commissioning arrangements and understand why some seem doomed for failure
  • Learn the four approaches to successfully managing commissioning relationships and gain insight into precise ways of working each of them
  • Prepare your retained staff to work with a variety of future commissioning approaches


The office professional - level two
Duration: 2 days

Course content

The successful PA
Defining the roles and skills of a professional PA

Working with your manager
Working together towards your teams objectives

Managing your own and your managers time

Handling difficulties
Working assertively with difficult situations and people

What delegates will learn

  • Be clear about the competencies required for the role and areas for improvement
  • Define personal objectives which will contribute towards your managers and teams success
  • How to meet the needs and demands of more than one person - good time management techniques
  • Build rapport and communicate effectively
  • Interact effectively at all levels
  • Handle situations assertively & deal with difficult people confidently

This course is for more experienced PA’s, executive secretaries and professional office assistants.


The office professional - level one
Duration: 1 day

Course content

Supporting your manager
Understanding what your manager and team need

Confident comms
Keys skills for communicating effectively

Establishing robust procedures

Managing time
Managing your time and interruptions by others

What delegates will learn

  • What their manager and team need from them
  • How you can work together to balance the needs the team
  • Project a professional and positive image
  • Communicate clearly, with confidence and manage expectations
  • Plan and organise their work and manage priorities
  • Manage others and avoid ‘time stealers

This course is perfect for administrators, office assistants and secretaries

Office Management
Duration: 2 days

Course content

The role of the manager
The responsibilities of an office manager

Developing the team
Creating the best team and working with differences

Improving performance
Managing, measuring and increasing performance

Problem solving
Defining problems and working towards solutions

What delegates will learn

  • Understand the range of skills needed to be an effective manager
  •  How to work with differing personalities and drivers
  • How to set objectives, measure performance and manager under-performance
  • Manage workload and set priorities
  • Assertive communication
  • Creative problem solving and informed decision making

This course is for office managers and supervisors.

Minute Taking
Duration: 1 day

Course content

Planning and preparation for the meeting

Critical skills
Becoming an unbiased listener

Types of note taking – sorting the wheat from the chaff

A practical exercise which tests these new skills

What delegates will learn

  • How put an agenda together; content, timing and presentation
  • Working with the chair
  • Develop positive listening skills
  • overcome barrier to listening
  • Separate the ‘wheat from the chaff’ and take minutes that are relevant
  • Overcome bias so that minutes are accurate
  • Ensure action points are clearly defined and owned

This course is for anyone who is involved in the running and minute taking of meetings.

Meeting Management
Duration: 1 day

Course content

Do I need a meeting?
Understanding bad and good reasons for meetings

Getting ready
Using a structured approach to preparation

8 rules of good meeting practice

What was all that about?
What must happen afterwards

What delegates will learn

  • A challenge concerning when a meeting is needed
  • How to make use of different types of meeting
  • The preparation imperative, whether running or just attending
  • How to effectively contribute to meetings
  • Alternative minute taking methods to try
  • The significance of not following up actions
  • Do’s and don'ts of meeting behaviour
  • A structure that can be used again and again

This is for everyone who attends or runs meetings but feels there must be a better way of running them

Effective Report Writing
Duration: 1 day

Course content

How to set the scene

Plain English
Readability, how to measure and improve it

More than just spell checking!

Design & presentation - making it look the part

What delegates will learn

  • Be confident in the use of appropriate language
  • Produce persuasive arguments
  • Illustrate reports effectively
  • Lay out the information for total impact
  • Planning and writing reports to make them memorable
  • Confidently structure professional documents
  • Give that sparkle of design
  • Use and understand some of the best Word tools

This course is for anyone looking to improve their writing skills and communicate more effectively.