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Posted By Bubb’s blog
On 15 March 2012 - 1:48pm

There can be few grander places to sit in a committee meeting than Malborough House ; former home of Queen Mary and now HQ of the Commonwealth . A rather incongruous venue for civil society but then the House is rather like the Commonwealth; grand and historic yet increasingly irrelevant to global communities in a 21st century?

It's my last set of meetings as a member of the Commonwealth civil society committee. We have been ...more

Posted By Bubb’s blog
On 14 March 2012 - 4:28pm

What excellent news a proud Uncle received today! My nephew Julian , currently at Keble College , Oxford has been picked to row in the Isis boat for Oxford in the 128th Cambridge and Oxford University race on April 7th. Here is a photo of Julian ( on the right) practising , or more accurately posing between rowing.

Good luck to him! I shall be there cheering him on and , afterwards embarrassing him!


Posted By Bubb’s blog
On 13 March 2012 - 11:03am

From the 1st April I am taking up a new part time non exec role as a " Public Appointments Assessor.". Fourteen new Public Appointments Assessors have been appointed by Sir David Normington, Commissioner for Public Appointments. The PAAs will assist him in "upholding the principle of selection on merit in ministerial appointments to public bodies and statutory offices.".

My colleagues and I will take up our appointments on 1st April 2012 and will replace 157 Independent Public Appointments Assessors who operated under the previous system. This is the final building block in the major reform of the system of regulation of public appointments which comes into effect at the beginning of April. The new PAAs will support a new Code of Practice which introduces a lighter-touch, principles-based regulatory regime for public appointments.

Our main task will be to chair the interview panels for quangos. It's part time and not onerous.I am stepping down from my role on the ...more

Posted By Bubb’s blog
On 12 March 2012 - 11:22am

Always good to celebrate anniversaries. This one for Bridges Venture; although only 10 years it has been a pioneer in social venture capital. A brainchild of a particular hero of mine, Sir Ronnie Cohen, it makes loans to businesses who work in particular areas with high unemployment , with an emphasis on creating local jobs.

Ronnie Cohen is not just the father of venture capital but also the pioneer of using social finance to grow the third sector. He was the driving force behind the Big Society Capital idea and using dormant accounts to create a capital market in the third sector. He is still an evangelist for loans- using the event top rightly castigate foundations for not using their endowments in more imaginative ways that blend loans with grants and use their investments top encourage social business and third sector enterprise.

So it was a fun vent. At St Luke's Church in Old St- a redundant church that now houses rehearsal studios for the LSO. And a rather ...more

Posted By Bubb’s blog
On 8 March 2012 - 10:54am

An interesting day out at the HQ of Pentland, an amazing family firm based in Finchley which you and I know from their ownership, franchising of lots of sports and footwear ( if I mention speedos you know what I mean ). I was meeting the CEO Andy Rubin to talk about how we work together across the private and third sectors and utilise the skills of the private sector in adopting more businesslike approaches in our own industry. He is a trustee of InKind Direct, and the CEO is a long standing member of ACEVO- Robin Boles.

A great lunch- he talked about their own motivating mission, notably; ideas , courage and passion. Ideas that are also a bedrock of what a third sector Leader needs to bring to the task.

I'd started the day meeting with ACEVO members who are part of our professional associations special interest group. One of our ACEVO treasures is the network of some 15 SIGs  covering the interests and passions of our members spheres of work. ACEVO has a large ...more

Posted By Bubb’s blog
On 5 March 2012 - 12:13pm

An interesting weekend; and not just because I was in Barnsley! Someone had leaked ACEVO's analysis of applications to the Transition Fund, which we undertook a year ago for the Cabinet Office. It showed the extent of the cuts and that the biggest cuts were taking place in the most deprived areas. Probably the most accurate analysis of the effect of cuts undertaken. As we had signed a confidentiality clause and the Cabinet Office decided not to publish we were in a difficult position. So I decided not to do press on it and unusually turned down requests!

But I'm glad the Cabinet Office have now decided to publish this. We should all know the extent of cuts and what is happening on the ground. But my recent visits around the country show a varied picture. Some are managing OK. Some growing as they do more work.

But we must keep up the pressure on Government and on local councils. ACEVO will do that.

It was bad news to hear that Steve Hilton is going on a ...more

Posted By Bubb’s blog
On 1 March 2012 - 11:28am

The tour continues. This time with silver jubilee meetings in 2 great cities; Newcastle and York. A range of members from across our very diverse membership. So in York we had John Walker the CEO of the  York Archaeological Trust, Mike Pratt of the Northumberland Wildlife Trust and Jenny Saunders of the National Energy Association, as well as members from health and welfare, education and advocacy etc.

Interesting to pop into The Minster to see the work they are doing on restoration. It is the biggest restoration project curently underway in Europe. And it is worth noting that this is made possible by a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund. Money from the lottery that will help restore a magnificent piece of our heritage and one that gives comfort to millions of people. So when Mr Muller of the Health Lottery is busy denigrating the lottery for supporting good causes other than health he should remember what brilliant work the national lottery does supporting all good ...more

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.

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