Well, I'm home. And back in work, but on the way we had a rather splendid weekend in Singapore. Tiffin at the Raffles Hotel and Palm Sunday Mass in St Andrew's Cathedral, and shopping, obviously. My great uncle Wilfred (Squadron Leader Barrow as was) was here after the war and I have some of his photos but the place is unrecognisable having been colonised by motorways and skyscrapers. Not all progress is good.
Ok. So I know it's annoying to see other people's holiday photos, especially if they come from very sunny and pleasant climes but tough. Here they are:
Spent three gorgeous days at the Island Brook winery in SW Australia.
We had a wood chalet in the Jarrah forest that surrounds the vines. Relaxing sitting out on the veranda with a bottle of the winery Semillon and Chardonnay and then eating local cheeses with their award winning Merlot. And a good trip out to see other wineries. The Cullen winery is one of Australia's finest. Photo here
Must say I prefer the Margaret River wineries to the Hunter Valley but both produce brilliant wines. Although I'm bringing a few bottles back it is ...more
Amid all the drama about Maria Miller this morning it was easy to overlook the DWP select committee’s suggestion that their evaluation of Universal Credit has been ‘hampered by Ministers’.
Dame Anne Begg MP criticised the ‘excruciatingly slow pace of roll-out to date’, and said that Ministers have ‘hampered the committee's scrutiny of Universal Credit implementation by not providing accurate, timely and detailed information’, for example on the IT problems the scheme has suffered.
We heard last month that rising demand for food banks is not simply due to more of them being set up. Evidence is starting to emerge that ties the explosion in the use of food banks to Government welfare policy. A ...more
It's not often one draws the bedroom curtain to find a bunch of kangaroos outside. Staying in a chalet in the Jarrah forest in the Margaret River wine region of South West Australia gives much scope for wild life observation; fortunately no nasty crawly things so far. The chalet is on the Island Brook estate, a boutique winery in this gorgeous part of Australia. And I'm blogging after a day around some of the finest wineries Australia has to offer! Highlight was Cullens. Would have bought some but the helpful wine taster in chief said it’s cheaper in the UK and gave me a list of the stockist! Their Chardonnay is a world beater.
On holiday in Australia (every good CEO deserves a break, even me!) and arrived in Perth after spending a while in the Hunter valley wine region. On a farm as it happens. And so lots of wine tasting and good food.
Here are a few photos for you amusement. ...more
My team interrupted my Australian holiday last night to let me know some good news from SW1. At long last the Labour Party have committed to repeal the dreadful Lobbying Act if they win power in 2015. Good on Ed.
We’ve spoken with Angela Eagle’s office a lot recently, and I wrote in February to all three party leaders to urge them to commit their parties to repeal. David Cameron wrote back to promise that the act “will only apply to third-party organisations or charities who spend money to procure the electoral success of a particular political party or candidate”. But he didn’t commit to replacing the Act with a better-drafted law. Now Labour have gone one better.
Labour’s commitment means the other parties must ...more
I was pleased to see this morning’s Times report that Simon Stevens, who started as new Chief Executive of NHS England yesterday, has already spoken out against the ‘misplaced consensus’ within our health service. He says it must be prepared for a wider range of innovative approaches to healthcare.
That means a larger role for charities and social enterprises. He is quite right; the NHS must be more open-minded if it is to stop ‘the wheels coming off’, in his words.
It’s encouraging to see this strong message being set from day one of Simon’s tenure. He is clearly open to greater third sector involvement. It will be good to see what happens next.
On a happier note, I pleased to see that Dr Mohammed Ali OBE was awarded the Uthman Dan Fodio Award for Excellence in Community Development at the twelfth Muslim News Awards for Excellence on Monday night, in a ceremony attended by the Prime ...more
ACEVO’s Health and Social Care Conference on Tuesday was a resounding success, with some really stimulating presentations from Duncan Selbie (CEO of Public Health England), David Behan (CEO of CQC), Sandie Keene (President of ADASS) and Sir Bruce Keogh (Medical Director of NHS England), as well as some fantastic panel discussions. The focus of the day was how to deliver the ‘Prevention Revolution’ called for by the ACEVO Prevention Taskforce.
All our speakers were in agreement that health and social care must urgently move towards preventative care that takes place in the community and in people’s own homes, ending the current over-reliance on reactive, high-cost treatment in hospital settings.
Andy Burnham, Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for Health, gave the keynote speech and outlined his party’s plans for ‘whole person care,’ which include the merging of health, social and mental health care into a ...more
A big family occasion at the weekend; my nephew Alexander getting married. The ceremony was in the Chapel at Wadham College, then lunch at Exeter College, finishing with Indian dancing in Oxford Town Hall. No, I did not partake of the dancing
I read a lesson at the wedding- a favourite piece from T S Eliot, the last section of the final part of the four quartets (Little Gidding).
"We shall not cease from exploration And the end of all our exploring Will be to arrive where we startedAnd know the place for the first time"
If you are ever in Soho Square, look up at the elegant Georgian town house in the SE corner. Emblazoned across the front is “House of Charity". This is the House of St Barnabas, a long standing charity providing help and support to young people, particularly to get them back into work through their academy and support schemes.
I have blogged about the wonderful developments here before. I went to see this place as it was transformed from a girl’s hostel into a club for social leaders. An inspirational CEO, Sandra Schembri (ACEVO member naturally) had the idea of turning the elegant " hostel" into a club that then provides income to support their work with deprived young people. The hostel had become outdated and inadequate for proper care and they wanted to focus on support for young people into work.
I was there hosting a dinner wearing my Social Investment Business hat. We were celebrating the new partnership we have formed with the Social and Sustainable Capital ...more
The Financial Times last Friday published an article on the voluntary sector filling in the gaps of austerity in which I was quoted. Having recently blogged about ACEVO's new research that warned the charity safety net is a breaking point, I wrote to the FT in response.
Here is the letter, which also appeared in the Times.
Sir, As you report, charities are increasingly acting as the “safety net” for the most vulnerable in our society. A new survey released by the Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations (Acevo) this week shows that this role is coming under increasing pressure; 88 per cent of charities have seen an increase in demand for services over the past year, and 89 per cent expect further increases in the year to come.However, fewer than a ...more