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Company Profile

Integrated Business Enterprises (IBE) is a small company based in Watford offering

advice to small and medium sized enterprises in the South East. The company was
established some five years ago as a partnership by a group of professionals from
different disciplines who recognised that existing Business Advisory Centres tended to
have a single emphasis and could not offer a comprehensive service. They saw IBE as a
new type of advisory service, able to offer legal, financial and general business advice to
companies all from the same source.

IBE’s staff of 45 now includes:

• accountants
• solicitors
• business planning and strategy advisors
• business consultants
• specific specialists covering areas like patents, logistics, personnel and information
• administrative and clerical staff

You recently left University and have joined IBE as a consultant designate.
Your job involves you:

• working alongside people from different parts of the organisation to see how their
role contributes to the service IBE offers
• supporting and working alongside other consultants to help match your clients’
needs with services that IBE offers
• working with specific clients yourself under close supervision.

As a business consultant, it will ultimately be your responsibility to be a

contact point for new or existing clients:

• to identify the type of support they need from IBE

• to liaise with the relevant IBE staff
• to identify further opportunities for work with that client
• to manage their “account”
• to help them secure government and other funding for the support IBE provides
(particularly in business start-up situations).

You therefore also have a role liaising with central and local government bodies such as
the Department of Employment, Enterprise Agency and local Training and Enterprise
You took up the post with IBE because of:

• the thorough training they could give you and the opportunity to develop your role
• the interesting and varied projects to look at and “shadow” (even when not involved
first hand)
• the emphasis is on “having a go”, presenting your ideas to a partner or manager of a
particular project and receiving feedback on these.

IBE encourages all staff to be “self starters”, to think for themselves and act on their
own initiative. They do not believe in “spoon feeding” employees.

You are managed by one of the company’s consultants but also report to different
project managers for specific projects.
In Tray
Participant’s Brief

The situation

One of IBE’s most experienced business consultants, Philippa Richardson, has had to
take a month off at short notice due to illness. She has been away for a week already and
had been out of the office a great deal recently on client work before that.

Earlier today, the team manager, Roger White, asked to see you in connection with
Philippa’s work. He is particularly busy at the moment as several projects he manages
have reached critical stages. So Roger has asked you to take over from Philippa in her
absence, go through her in tray and deal with as much as possible on his behalf.

A key project

Philippa had recently begun a new project which involved managing and allocating
funds provided by Central Government (through the Department of Trade and Industry
- DTI) for small and medium sized enterprises. The initiative, Grants for Growth,
provides funds to allow business expansion and investment for growth:

• The first £50,000 funding has just become available and the DTI has sent through
three application forms from companies.

• You may split the money to satisfy all or part of the different bids.

• Roger feels it is vital the money is allocated as soon as possible to progress the

• The relevant papers are in Philippa’s in tray.

• You should draft your recommendations for Roger to approve and the letter
requested by the DTI.

What you have to do

Your task is to respond to each of the items in the in tray as you consider appropriate,
and make recommendations for the business grant allocation for Roger White’s

• As Roger is so busy you must take as many decisions on your own as possible where
you feel it is appropriate to do so.

• Assume no prior knowledge of any of the people involved. Your judgements will be
based solely on the information in your in tray.

• Whatever your response to an item - e.g. a memo, a letter drafted for Roger to sign,
notes to a colleague etc. - this complete response must be attached to the item. If you
decide not to respond, a note of that decision should be attached. You can write on
the items themselves if preferred. In each case, write the full note, letter or memo,
not just bullet points.

• If you would have made a telephone call, then write down the following information:

• person to be contacted

• questions to be asked or the major points to be covered

• when you would have telephoned

• This also applies if you decide to delegate items to be dealt with by the team’s
administrator (see organisational chart overleaf).

Please ensure that all your responses are legible and appropriately presented.

The outputs required

At the end of the exercise you should hand in:

• Firstly, your recommendations for the business funding project.

• Secondly, your letters, memos and notes relating to the rest of the
correspondence, and

• Thirdly, a memo to Roger outlining the action you have taken or recommended.

These are the outputs that you are expected to produce.

You have one hour and thirty minutes to complete this exercise (of which
approximately 45 minutes should be spent on the grant allocation work).

Later on today, during the Partner Interview, you will be given 5 minutes in which to
present your recommendations on the Grants for Growth allocation and you will then
be asked some questions about your decision.

Any notes you wish to refer to for this interview should be gathered
together and handed in. The administrator will return them to you before
your Partner Interview.

Additional information

Today’s date is Monday 12 October

Organisational Chart

Business Consultancy Team

(Par tner )

Philippa Tr evor
Richardson Kingsley
(Business (Business
Consultant) Consultant)

Sean Alison Your self Jo

Allen Trigg (Consultant Ancaster
(Consultant (Consultant Designate) (Administr ator)
Designate) Designate)

You report to Philippa who, in turn, reports to Roger. Sean and Alison are at the same
level as you and also report to Philippa. Jo Ancaster provides secretarial and
administrative support to the whole team and is managed by Trevor.
Item 1


From: Roger White

Re: Philippa’s absence

Following our chat earlier today , I just wanted to thank you for
agreeing to deal with Philippa’s in-tray on my behalf. I know it
might seem a bit daunting as you’re not yet fully up to speed with
IBE, but I see it not only as an excellent way of getting to know
more about the work that’s going on, but also to show us what
you can do!

Can you try to deal with as many as possible on your own? Both
Trevor and I will support you, naturally, but I’m very busy at the
moment and as I mentioned this morning, I’ve asked Trevor to
cover some of Philippa’s client work so he’s working flat out too.

When you’ve sorted everything out, can you drop a line to me

letting me know exactly what you’ve done or feel should be done
about each piece of correspondence you looked at and why.
Don’t worry about giving a full run-down, a memo in note form is
fine. I just wanted you to keep me in the picture of what’s going


Item 2

Forest County High School

Newton Road
01494 578892

19th September

Ms Philippa Richardson
Business Support Consultant
Integrated Business Enterprises
42 Hurlston Way

Dear Philippa
Re: 5 year work experience

It was good to talk to you again last week and to hear that things are so busy at IBE. As
I mentioned on the phone, I am trying to arrange work experience places again for the
current 5th year for the period 20th November to 12th December. IBE has been very
supportive of the school in the past and I would like to ask whether you would be able
to take a student for general office work experience. I have in mind a particular student,
Kelvin Hughes, who is hoping to take Business Studies A level and who would, I’m
sure, find IBE’s work extremely interesting. I am sure that he would gain a great deal
from the placement and , hopefully, IBE would also benefit from having “an extra pair of
hands”. Incidentally, the same tutoring arrangements will apply as we used in previous
years; I will be visiting all work experience students at least once and will be asking all
host organisations to provide a brief report on their student. The students also have to
write up their work experience and present it as part of their coursework.

I’m quite keen to finalise the placements as soon as possible so would appreciate an
early reply.

I look forward to hearing from you and hope that IBE will be able to offer Kelvin work
experience. If you can help, perhaps you could give me some idea of what Kelvin may
be doing, so I can brief him.

Kind regards

Rowena Hewitt
Head of 5 Year
Item 3


To: All Partners and Consultants

From: Kim Aycliffe (Managing Partner)

Date: 9th October

We have recently been reviewing our revenue and costs while preparing next year’s
budget. While we have achieved targets for fee income and are well within our budget
for capital expenditure, I am concerned about our overheads. In particular I am
concerned about our expenditure on overtime which has increased by 20% compared to
last year.

The partners do appreciate the considerable efforts of all our employees and part of the
increase in overtime is due to our success in winning more business, however, I am sure
there must be ways of working more efficiently. I know a reduction in overtime may be
difficult given that we have to make sure telephone cover, for example, is provided
between the hours of 8.30am and 6.30pm although our standard hours are from
9.00am to 5.30pm. We will have to be creative in overcoming these kinds of problems.

I would be very interested to hear of any ideas you might have to reduce overtime costs
or indeed any of our other costs. I would like ideas from all staff so please make sure
you ask your consultant designates and administrators to consider this matter.
Item 4

Business Enterprise Division

Department of Trade and Industry
1-19 Victoria Street
London SW1
Tel: 0207 215 7877
Fax: 0207 215 0803

Our Ref: CM/AD/GFG/004.C

30 September

Ext. 4372

Ms P. Richardson
Business Support Consultant
Integrated Business Enterprises
42 Hurlston Way

Dear Philippa

Grants for Growth

Further to our recent correspondence, I would like to confirm that I have now received
the signed contract from you and to address some of the queries you raised about the
Grants for Growth scheme in our last conversation.

As discussed, you will be acting as our agent in administering the Grants for Growth
funds. This will involve reviewing the applications received for your area and allocating
the funds to the companies which have applied according to the two key criteria:

(i) the viability of the company

(ii) the extent to which the funding will enable the company to grow its operation

It is up to you to consider the merits of each case and decide how the monies are to be

The DTI will be responsible for marketing the initiative (you may have already noticed
some coverage in the national press) and will be the contact point distributing and
receiving the application forms. We will sort the applications by region and send these
to you monthly in batches, along with an indication of the funding available for that
month. We have decided to limit the amount of information provided by each company
in an effort to standardise the process. Hence the new application forms are
considerably shorter than the sample one we sent you.

Once you have allocated the funds, you will need to inform us of your decision so that
we can provide feedback to the companies (a form is available should you wish to use
it), process the paperwork at our end and issue the money, where appropriate.

Although the scheme was not due to be launched officially until the end of October, we
have already received a number of enquiries and some completed application forms. As
a result, we have decided to bring forward the first month’s funds of £50,000 per region
with a view to allocating it during October. I should remind you that Dti is notorious for
cutting budgets, so we need to allocated most of the money if we are to receive the same
amount next month.

There have been 3 applications from your area (attached) and I would be grateful if you
could review these as quickly as possible.

May I also ask a favour, Philippa? Our administrative procedures are not yet up and
running fully. While we have a standard letter to send to companies which are allocated
the amount they bid or, we do not yet have a letter for companies that do not succeed in
getting the funds they requested. Could I ask you, therefore, to draft a letter to one of
the businesses which does not secure the grant it was expecting? We will take care of
any other similar letters based on your model. Many thanks for helping us out.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely

Anna Dooley

Project Executive, Grants for Growth

Grants for Growth
Application Form

Company: Sword Electrical Components Established: 1985

Address: Southern House, Falloden Way, Richmond Business Park, Surrey, TW15 7GC
Telephone: 0208 349 4377 Fax: 0208 346 1214
No of staff employed: 45 Business activity: Electronic Engineering
Turnover (last fin yr): £4.3m Pre tax profit (last fin yr): £345,000
Name of person applying for grant: Bernard Merryweather
Job Title: Managing Director Grant requested: £27,000

Reason for application:

Sword Electrical Components has been very successful in the design and manufacture
of specialised components for the production of computer hardware and other items
incorporating printed circuit boards and electronic switches. With increasing
competition from the Far East, it is important that we maintain our technical expertise
and keep up to date in design and production techniques.
The company is therefore seeking a grant to purchase a state of the art CAD system
(Computer aided design) which will mean we can design our new products and produce
technical drawings/specifications on the computer. This will improve our efficiency in
design resulting in shorter lead times as well as reduced wastage in building prototypes.
We estimate we can reduce our R&D costs by up to 35% as a result.

Details of funding required:

Purchase of computer hardware for CAD system (3 x Pentium 3 with 400

MHZ, 3GB disk systems with 100MB), incorporating full colour monitors £7,640
Purchase of full colour laser printer £4,500
CAD software £7,750
1 week's training for 2 designers on software £4,500
Software support for 1 year £1,500
Installation costs (including network integration) £750
Sundry items (cabling etc.) £360

Signed: Date:
Please continue on separate sheet if necessary

For office use only

Reject/Accept Amount allocated:
Recommended by: Date:
Letter/cheque sent: Authorised by: PTO

Decision Form

Reject/Accept* Amount allocated:

Reason for decision:

Signed: Date:

* Delete as appropriate

Grants for Growth

Application Form
Company: Fresh Field Foods Established: 1989
Address: c/o Lime End Farm, Burwell Road, Letchmore Heath, Herts, WD5 6PQ
Telephone: 01923 414599 Fax: 01923 896200
No of staff employed: 28 Business activity: Dairy goods producer
Turnover (last fin yr): £403,000 Pre tax profit (last fin yr): £51,000
Name of person applying for grant: Simon Larchwood
Job Title: Production Manager Grant requested: £32,000

Reason for application:

Fresh Field Foods was formed by 5 local dairy farms in 1989 to make use of our excess
milk production when EC quotas were reduced. Since that time we have made a range
of dairy products, such as our own yoghurt and cheeses made from both cow's and
goat's milk. We have sold these mainly to local food shops and to a number of speciality
foodstores, and have built up a reputation for quality products at a reasonable price. All
our products are sold under the Fresh Fields label and are distributed to our retail
outlets by members of the cooperative.
We now want to increase our production capacity and to expand our product range.
For the first of these, we need to buy new cheese-making equipment (vats etc.) and
estimate we will be able to produce 25% more units a week. As we are currently unable
to fill all our customers' orders, we are certain we will be able to sell the extra cheese.
Secondly, we want to start producing our own 'home made' ice cream (4 flavours
initially) and need to purchase mixers, freezers and special cases to keep the ice cream
cold in transit. Our calculations suggest we would be able to increase our turnover by
35-40% altogether in the first year if we can introduce these changes.

Details of funding required:

Cheesemaking vats (2 @ £4475 each) £8,950

Additional equipment (rollers, storage trays, separators, etc) £5,900
4 mixers for ice cream manufacture £7,100
Industrial freezer £4,700
Specialist packaging materials for transporting product £3,450
Additional equipment for ice cream manufacture £2,000

Signed: Date:
Please continue on separate sheet if necessary

For office use only

Reject/Accept Amount allocated:
Recommended by: Date:
Letter/cheque sent: Authorised by:

Decision Form

Reject/Accept* Amount allocated:
Reason for decision:

Signed: Date:

* Delete as appropriate


Company: Open Arms Established:1991
Address: 9-15 Avenue Terrace, Beckenham, Kent, CR5 4JP
Telephone: 0208 523 1919 Fax: -
No of staff employed: 34 Business activity:Childcare provision
Turnover (last fin yr):£450,000 Pre tax profit (last fin yr): £98,000
Name of person applying for grant: Heather Brooks
Job Title: Managing Director Grant requested: £27,400

Reason for application:

Open Arms runs 3 private nurseries in the Beckenham area, the largest of which operates at its
Avenue Terrace premises, while the other 2 occupy a church hall and a community centre. We
provide places for 150 3-5 year olds who attend up to 5 sessions per week (morning or afternoon).
30% of the places are taken up by local companies offering nursery provision to children of their
staff. Our nurseries are run by qualified nursery teachers and nursery nurses, supported by
nursery assistants.

In response to recent Government initiatives, we are hoping to start operating an after-school

club (from 3.30-7.00) for children aged between 5 and 11 whose parents work in the area.
Initially, we plan to offer 50 places at our Avenue Terrace building and may extend this once the
scheme is up and running. Enquiries among local companies as well as past and present clients
suggest that there would be a high level of demand for this service. To get the scheme off the
ground, however, we will need to convert some unused office space in the building, purchase
additional equipment suitable for the older age group, and be able to provide refreshments for
the children.

Details of funding required:

Building costs to convert and decorate office space £15,900

Purchase of additional equipment £6,500

Purchase of storage cupboards £2,100

Leasing of vending machines £2,900

Signed: Date:
Please continue on separate sheet if necessary

For office use only

Reject/Accept Amount allocated:
Recommended by: Date:
Letter/cheque sent: Authorised by: PTO


Reject/Accept* Amount allocated:

Reason for decision:

Signed: Date:

* Delete as appropriate
Item 5a

10th October


Ms Philippa Richardson
Business Support Consultant
Integrated Business Enterprises
42 Hurlston Way

Dear Philippa

I am writing to complain about the report I received yesterday which outlined our
progress in installing our new software systems. Although I appreciate that the report
may not be final, I am extremely annoyed that it does not discuss the implications of
installing the new software on our existing systems, which we have specifically
discussed already. I am particularly annoyed with your colleague, Sean Allen, who not
only assured me that this information would be included, but then denied this when I
spoke to him. I find this behaviour unprofessional and unacceptable. I would be
grateful if you could let me have an explanation of this matter.

This leads me to question the fee structure which we negotiated at the start of the
project. We are due to make an interim payment of £20,000 on 17 October and I am
unwilling to pay this in light of the above comments as I do not think it accurately
reflects the level of work completed to date. I enclose, for your information, a copy of
the abbreviated payment structure which was agreed.

I look forward to hearing from you very shortly in respect of the issues I have raised

Yours sincerely

Tim Braithwaite

Managing Director

Item 5b


Proposed date
of completion Issue £

5 September Identification of in-house software requirements 5,000

and detailed proposal for potential solutions

26 September Identification of appropriate packages and detailed 5,000

business plan for installation prepared

17 October Installation started and full review of implications 20,000

for existing software systems completed and

7 November Completion of installation and initial teething 5,000

problems and issues to be addressed

Total proposed 35,00

fee 0
Item 6a


To: Philippa Richardson

From: Alison Trigg (Consultant Designate)

Date: 2nd October

Re: IBE client proposal presentation, 20th October

Philippa, some time ago you asked me to help put together and present a proposal for
the CMR Theatre Group to put forward their bid for a grant from the National Lottery.

I have gathered together all the information I feel is relevant for the proposal.

However, I am feeling a little nervous about the presentation as it will be to a new client
and our partners. I have never seen a full proposal presentation before and am not
entirely sure of the format.

I hoped to be able to have a run through it with you as any tips would be gratefully
received on how I should present the material. Unfortunately, I am booked out at
clients from now until the presentation and will not be in the office before then.

Is there any chance you could look through the work I have prepared and see if it I
acceptable and point out any areas where improvements could be made. I plan to use
this as a hand-out for attendees.

Item 6b

Proposal for National Lottery Bid

IBE - background to IBE’s business, how we can help

- previously Prepared bids for various organisations for National
Lottery funds - successful applications.
- some experience of grant allocation

Our team - Roger White (Partnr), Philippa Richardson (Business

Consultant), Alison Trigg (Consultant Designate)

Proposed bid - Request for £50,000, for refurbishment of local theatre,

improvement of stage, lighting, equipment, etc.
Stage repairs £15,000
Lighting £13,550
Seat upholstry £7,950
Foyer redecoration £13,500

- £25,000 to be used as a float to help finance and support new

productions, to be pAid back after the production has taken
place. To be used for costume hire, props, publicity, etc.

Benefits - More opportunities to put on productions, increase involvement

of community, youth groups, schools and educational productions.
Increased funds to advertise productions/events.

Over the years inCome has dropped leading to fewer productions

and lower attendance rates, spiralling downwards.

Recent results

1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995

Income(£000’ 65 49 32 25 20 12

No. plays 12 10 7 6 5 5

Attendees 13,250 11,000 8,700 6,800 4,900 3,500

by providing this investment the CMR Theatre will begin to generate profits that can be
reinvested in further improvements.
Item 7


To: All Partners and Consultants

From: Kim Aycliffe (Managing Partner)

Date: 7th October

Well done to all staff, the fee income figures for September were the second highest in
the company’s history.

Despite our impressive results, we have an increasing number of clients who are not
meeting their interim payments. There are a number of possible reasons for this, one of
which may be the schedules outlining our fee structure. These schedules should reflect
the amount of work done for the client at each interim stage. As you are aware, the fee
structure should be agreed up front with the client. Any changes to the schedule should
be discussed with the client.

I should be grateful if you would inform me of any problems that you or your team
become aware of as soon as they arise.
Item 8a

30th September

Ms Philippa Richardson
Business Support Consultant
Integrated Business Enterprises
42 Hurlston Way
Hertfordshire WD2 INZ

Dear Miss Richardson

I note from our records that the contract you took out to maintain IBE’s tropical
plants displays is due to expire on 31st October. To renew your existing contract,
simply complete and return the slip below, enclosing a cheque (made payable to
Tame Triffids Ltd). The maintenance of your 10 static displays will cost £780 but
you should be aware that four of these displays are due for renewal. The cost of
purchasing replacements will amount to a further £660, bringing the total to

As an increasing number of our clients are opting for our colourful seasonal
displays, which replace the need for fresh flowers and create a stunning focal
point to any reception area, I have also included a selection of our existing range
of interior planting contracts (with rates) should you wish to review your current

If you wish to change the terms of your contract, please contact me and I will
draw up a new arrangement.

Yours sincerely

Sally Bennett
Customer Service Manager
Name: Miss P Richardson Job Title: Business Consultant
Address: Integrated Business Enterprises, 42 Hurlston Way, Watford, Hertfordshire, WD2 1NZ

I wish/do not wish to renew the existing weekly maintenance contract. I wish/do not wish to purchase
(number) of replacement displays.
I enclose a cheque for £ to cover this

Signed: ___________________________________ Date:___________________

Tame Triffids Ltd, 9 Wroughton Street, Harrow, Middx, HA9 8BL

Tel: 0208 426 2311 Fax: 0208 426 4690
Item 8b

Maintenance Contract for

Tropical Plant Displays

1) Seasonal Plant Display

A display of exotic plants, colour options changed monthly.

Weekly maintenance visits.
Replacements plants.

Rental/Maintenance for each display £728 per annum

2) Static Plant Display

Planter containing palms.

Plant display remains static, no colour choice.
Weekly maintenance visits.

Purchase price £165 plus maintenance service £78 per annum for each
display or

Rental and maintenance with no capital outlay involved £156 per annum for
each display.

3) Replica Planting

Planter containing replica palms.

Quarterly visits.
Ideal for areas where live plants cannot survive or if they are not desired.

Purchase price £320 and maintenance service £60 per annum for each
display or

Rental/maintenance £260 per annum for each display.

With our rental plans, plant displays will automatically get renewed after a four
year period.
Participant’s Review Form

Name: In Tray

How did you allocate your time between the items (approximately)?

Which item(s) did you consider to be the most important?

Which item(s) did you find most difficult to deal with? Why?
Which item(s) did you find easier to deal with? Why?

Any other comments: