About Us

Silica Associates: We’re different to other Management Consultants…

Unlike some traditional consultancies:

  • We don’t send in young, inexperienced recently graduated consultants  –  we have years of practical experience and commercial awareness
  • We won’t attempt to consult on anything  –  we only focus and provide support and guidance in our specialist areas
  • We won’t keep all the learnings to ourselves to build up our portfolio  –  we will share our approach to achieving the learnings with your key nominated representatives
  • We don’t use propriety software or methodologies that you can’t use for yourself in the future  –  we use tried and tested, commonsense, industry standard tools and techniques that we will impart with your key nominated representatives to ensure you can build and implement your own continuous service improvement programmes

We work much more closely with our clients than the traditional Big 5 Consultancies. We prefer to work with a smaller number of clients so we can provide a more comprehensive and intimate service. We are also selective in the clients that we act for. We want to get to know our clients’ businesses inside out, enabling us to easily identify problems and spot opportunities. We want to help improve their efficiency, increase profits and encourage growth.

Our team combines experience with enthusiasm to produce work that is original, meticulous and innovative. Whenever necessary, we introduce partner companies with specialist skills (inc. PRINCE2 and ITIL accreditation) to provide maximum choice and value for money.

We were set up to give business owners expert advice and support, helping to promote their brands, products and services with the right processes and skills for the market.  We’re hands-on consultants who listen to our clients, learning from their experiences and drawing on our own to develop smart, results-focused services and strategies.

The definition of Silica is:

A compound that builds strong foundations from which to grow and expand upon and that provides strength and support to a living and growing structure.

The business context for Silica Associates is therefore to provide support and to facilitate the absorption of new practices from which to grow and expand upon.

Who We Are

Rama Venchard

Rama, our founding director, is a specialist in project management with expertise in IT Service Management and  Business Transformation encompassing areas such as Service Improvement and Business Process Change.  Since 2005, he has worked with schools and Trusts to facilitate the set-up of Academies, University Technical Colleges, Studio Schools and Free Schools.  He is a Trustee on three  Academy Trust boards, has assisted in the set-up of several Multi Academy Trusts and is the in-house Project Director leading on Academy conversions and Free Schools for five Academy Trusts.  Rama brings a wealth of knowledge from over twenty years in the retail, hospitality and banking sectors and over ten years working in the Academies sector.

Dafydd Gough

Dafydd has a varied employment history as a result of 31 years in the Civil Service ranging from process management and change in the Employment Service, high level performance improvement through intervening in failing local authority children’s services and education to setting up successful new free schools (university technical colleges).  Since undertaking consultancy work, Dafydd has additional experience of academy conversions and FE colleges’ merger.  He also has direct experience of schools through being a governor for 10 years and is currently an adviser to a multi academy trust board.

Our Philosophy

To ensure that we truly ‘Help people to help themselves’, our aim is to ensure our clients feel empowered to take the learnings, skills and techniques to continuously improve their performance. Our philosophy is therefore to provide a high quality service by being responsive, reliable and flexible to our clients’ needs.

To better explain the approach and methodology that Silica Associates adopts, we have provided an extract from an article written by David Ellerman from the World Bank entitled ‘Helping People Help Themselves : Towards a Theory of Autonomy-Compatible Help’.

“There are two paths to the basic conundrum of helping people help themselves; how can external help support an internally-driven process without overriding or undercutting it?  On the direct path, the ‘helper’ helps the ‘doers’ by supplying distorted motivation (conditional aid) and ‘managed’ knowledge (biased information and one-sided arguments) to deliver (what the helper takes as) the right results.

On the other indirect and autonomy respecting path, the helper helps the doers to help themselves by supplying not ‘motivation’ but perhaps resources to enable doers to do what they were already own-motivated to do.  On the knowledge side, the autonomy-respecting helper supplies not answers but helps build learning capacity (e.g. by enabling access to unbiased information and to hearing all sides of an argument) to enable the doers to learn from whatever source in a self-directed learning process.

Autonomy-compatible assistance cannot be reduced to a checklist or engineering plan to be enforced by well designed carrots and sticks.  Direct methods can help others, but they cannot help others to help themselves.  That requires autonomy-compatible indirect methods on the part of the helpers and autonomous self-activity on the part of the doers.  People need not only to ‘participate’ but to be in the driver’s seat in order to make their actions their own and to make their learnings their own.

It is the psychological version of the old principle that people have a natural ownership of the fruits of their labour.  The helpers can use indirect and autonomy compatible approaches to bring the doers to the threshold; the doers have to do the rest on their own and that is what makes it their own development”.