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Posted By Bubb’s blog
On 28 February 2012 - 3:59pm

Every so often there is a spasm of "red tape " and scrap health and safety laws. One of our respected ACEVO members is Tom Mullarkey, CEO off RoSPA , one of the worlds leading safety organisations.

He emails me recently to say that not one single person has been killed in the construction of the Olympic sites, despite the fact these are big construction projects. So our dreaded health and safety regulations not only serve a very sensible purpose but they save lives!

The Beijing figure on deaths during their Olympic building is unknown. There are c50 million migrant construction workers in China alone – often seen as the least cared-about group. In 2005, 127,000 workers are estimated to have lost their lives at work, about 40-50 times the rate of death in the UK. I would say this was likely to be a conservative figure.

It is probable that the figure for the Olympics would be measured in thousands, given a six year build. The injury rates would be typically ...more

Posted By Bubb’s blog
On 23 February 2012 - 3:23pm

Another of our Silver Jubilee events; this time in Leeds. We meet at the Foundation run by ACEVO member Steve Woodford. It's part of a wonderful church complex that used to comprise Church, school and gymnasium ( mind and body catered for! ). All Souls is a splendid high Victorian church built by Gilbert Scott; in fact his last building before he died. Rather appropriately I was lunching with Paul Emery of Zurich yesterday at another Gilbert Scott triumph; St Pancras Station ( my last wine accompanied meal before Lenten purdah so it was Puligny Montrachet ).
And another amusing tie up was that Aidan who is the Leeds student union manager was there. I was at the 90th birthday party for NUS at the Commons yesterday. We have a range of student union managers as ACEVO members. He was talking about the potential of his membership; for example in a developing role in health- prevention and support etc.
...more

Posted By Bubb’s blog
On 22 February 2012 - 11:37am

Today's Times carries an article from me making a plea for politicians to realise the real challenges on health and social care, and make use of the imagination and innovation of our sector. Members who were at our AGM will have to forgive me for using the Catherine the Great quote!

When facing great political turmoil, Catherine the Great once said, "a great wind is blowing and that gives you either a headache or imagination". The current debate on the Health Bill has certainly given the Government a headache. But is our political class responding to the challenges facing our health and social care system with sufficient imagination?


When I was writing the report for the Government on choice and competition as part of the Health Bill's listening exercise, I was struck by the fact that there is a great deal more consensus on the challenges facing health and social care provision in this country than the furore over the Health Bill would ...more

Posted By Bubb’s blog
On 21 February 2012 - 9:48pm

Such is the level of debate on health reform that we seem not to be able to have a sensible exchange of views . It's all become playground shouting. You are either " in favour" of the Bill or you are "against" it,  ( with the grave assumption that if you support the bill you probably also like spitting at your granny). So I'm caricatured in the Guardian, followed by a somewhat surprising tweet from Polly Toynbee as "supporting the Bill". Actually ACEVO does not have a position on the Bill as a whole; either supporting it or demanding it is killed. Members have very differing views on the multitude of different provisions within it.

But what is certain is that many ACEVO members look at the services provided by the NHS to their beneficiares (the mentally ill; the elderly; those dying in hospital beds) and think they could do better by those people. So I have strong views on choice ,  patients rights and the need for radical reform. And I use every opportunity I get to ...more

Posted By Bubb’s blog
On 20 February 2012 - 5:44pm

Managed to get past the demo at the entrance to No 10. Placards about " 30 pieces of silver ". As if. A little more silver for the sector would be great at the moment.

I had been asked by the PM to attend the meeting to talk about the implementation of the Health Bill. This was an important meeting- though whether quite a "summit" as billed in media I'm not sure. And for my liking a little too much trivia on who had been asked to the party and who hadn't.

It was good to be there to represent the sector and it was clear from remarks by the PM that he clearly sees a bigger role for us and made a number of references to our delivery role. My two key points were;

1. We need action on Dilnot and social care reform. Many members have told me how important they see this . I said to the PM that without reform of social care funding, many people’s experience of care would be worse than it needs to be – and ultimately the funding crisis in social care would have a ...more

Posted By Bubb’s blog
On 20 February 2012 - 1:28pm

Hard to believe it I know, but nearly 60 years ago I was born in a small village in Kent and this weekend I was back there. No longer a village but urban sprawl. Strange to see the house where I was born (no nonsense about hospital births in those days!). Nurse Massie the midwife arrived hot foot on her bicycle while Father cycled into town to alert various parents and then off to school to teach. So no nonsense about fathers interfering in such matters then either. He arrived back home after tea to his first born!

I had been invited back to St Matthew's Wigmore to talk to the congregation about my work. Grandly entitled " An Evening with Sir Stephen Bubb" there were also representatives of 13 local voluntary groups who had an exhibition in the Church Hall.

I was one of the first boys to be confirmed and take his First Communion in the newly consecrated church.

And good to see lots of old friends. And indeed they were by now , like me, many years advanced . ...more

Posted By Bubb’s blog
On 16 February 2012 - 1:08pm

A hard old life it is! I have to do all these lunches and people just keep on asking! Perhaps the highlight this week was at the Gherkin; that wonderful Norman Foster tower in the City. 180 metres high and 40 floors, the top 2 floors are a restaurant, bar and viewing platform with stunning views out across London.

See view here;

Good to look down on the Tower of London and remember my goodly ancestor Sir Edward Neville, beheaded by Henry VIII as an adherent to the Roman faith. Always useful to be reminded there are sometimes consequences for speaking truth to power!

But don't think I was just swanning around. I was meeting one of my members ...more

Posted By Bubb’s blog
On 15 February 2012 - 7:00am

Shirley Williams may be verging on a National treasure but she is totally wrong on competition in the Health Bill as reported in the Guardian yesterday ( so must be true? ) . She is arguing that the entire Part 3 of the Bill- all the competition clauses should be dropped.

This would be a disaster for the country's charities. Many of us are tired of the gross assumption that

# competition is only about the private sector.

# and that citizen choice is not important.

Whose side do the politicians want to be on? The producer or the citizen? Is it not ironic that a respected social democrat is pitching on behalf of a state monopoly against extending choice for the citizen?

Part 3 , as amended after my report on Choice and Competition is about giving life to the NHS Constitution promise of more choice. How do you get more choice unless you have a diversity of providers. Is it fair that the only choice you get is what you are given?

My group ...more

Posted By Bubb’s blog
On 14 February 2012 - 2:00pm

I'm not a morning person. Like my Hound I like a lie in , usually with the Today programme to keep me company! So it was a stretch to make the launch of " Give More" this morning at 8.30 ( and no breakfast- it's not Lent yet is it? ).
This is a brilliant new 12 month initiative to get people to make public commitments to give more time , money and energy in 2012. And to get everyone to talk more about giving.

And as we met a slogan was unveiled on the top of the Post Office Tower just up the way which says , " GIVE MORE".
I was hoping to see Bob Diamond there. If only one of our top bankers made a public statement that they were donating a good chunk of their bonus top support those ...more

Posted By Bubb’s blog
On 14 February 2012 - 10:53am

A rather good lunch yesterday ( in the sense of food for thought rather than sustenance as it was only boring old sanis! ) at Reform. Reform is one of my favourite think tanks because they promote public service reform with zeal and vigour. And goodness knows that is needed! And of course led by the splendid Nick Seddon.

They had gathered together a strong bunch of thinkers and advocates to discuss mutuals. We had Julian Le Grand to discuss where and why and where we have got to with Government. I was busy taking notes till he mentioned he had done a blog so I thought I'd give you some exited highlights from that. Always good to promote fellow bloggers.

He blogged ,

" We are moving into an era where public services are provided by an increasingly diverse range of providers. Social enterprises, charities, mutuals of various kinds, private firms and professional partnerships: all are of growing importance in delivering social and other services, sometimes ...more