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Posted By Bubb’s blog
On 22 July 2014 - 3:57pm

One thing I learnt from my time in the big move from institutional to community care in mental health in Lambeth (Tooting Bec) in the 80s was the need to ensure the voice of the client, carers and families are heard.

I know that my recent blog post caused concern because it implied only the providers have the answers and that we already had the worked up plan.  I know that the issues raised from Winterbourne View, and what has happened since, are of deep concern, and I'm sorry that my blog caused upset. It was certainly not my intention. A sin of omission not commission.

None of the providers have all the answers.  But along with others they are clearly part of the answer and we now have an opportunity to work together to develop solutions that meet the needs of people with learning disability, their families and carers.

We have our first meeting of the Steering Group on developing a new national framework for learning disability care on Monday. We have a ...more

Posted By Bubb’s blog
On 18 July 2014 - 2:00pm

Well it’s been a busy week at ACEVO and in Downing Street. I had a good conversation with our new Minister for Civil Society on Wednesday. He has a strong record on finance and in charity – having founded his own charity in 2010. He is particularly interested in the power of social finance, and he will be speaking at an ACEVO fringe event on this topic at the Conservative Party Conference. At ACEVO we are keen to see progress on the role of civil society in public service delivery and I look forward to working with him on this in future.
But that said, it is sad to see Nick Hurd leave the post. He leaves OCS as the longest-serving Minister for Civil Society, and with an excellent record behind him on National Citizen Service, the Community First Fund and much more. He was widely respected on all sides of the sector as you can see from the plaudits that have come in this week.
I was interested to read ...more

Posted By Bubb’s blog
On 16 July 2014 - 9:02am

So it’s hail Brooks Newmark and farewell Nick Hurd.

I think the fact there has been such a strong response from sector leaders paying tribute to Nick says a lot about how well he has done his job. He cared about the health of our sector, and avoided the political extremes inhabited by some in Parliament on both sides who want to relegate us to the margins.
I always enjoyed talking to Nick. I'm sure he always thoroughly enjoyed my helpful texts of advice and occasional expletives about "developments". He was a strong supporter of social finance and did much to promote it. He should also be remembered for his acts of omission. He refused to get sucked into the nonsense of CEO pay and refused to attack charity campaigning. He lived by his mantra of "do no harm".
So his final advice to me about Brooks (he'll forgive me for repeating his text I'm sure) was "Good guy. Bright. A good listener. Nice and genuine. Business background. Think you will get on despite ...more

Posted By Bubb’s blog
On 14 July 2014 - 4:04pm

I was surprised. I had gone for a meeting with Simon Stevens, the new NHS England Chief. As with all such meetings, I had my requests. But instead he got there first. "I have three asks", he announced.

The first was what the third sector could do to support the implementation of the Government's pledge on Winterbourne.  Following the Winterbourne View scandal, the Government promised to move all learning disability clients out of inappropriate in-patient facilities into the community. The appalling abuse of people with learning disabilities exposed by the Panorama programme in Winterbourne View, an institution meant to care for them had shocked a nation. Norman Lamb MP, the Health Minister rightly said that not only must there be serious consequences for the Winterbourne View abusers, but that there were also wider issues in the care system that needed to be addressed. In particular, he insisted that all clients in inappropriate in-patient settings should be cared for near ...more

Posted By Bubb’s blog
On 11 July 2014 - 2:54pm

Today is set aside to remember the genocide of the 8000 Bosnian Muslims at Srebrenica. I went to a special commemorative event at Lancaster House this week that our Government laid on to mark this day.  There is a wonderful charity established to ensure we never forget the atrocities that took place this day 19 years ago.

Not a comfortable event at all; with 3 of the mothers of those tortured and killed there and speaking of their experience and their loss. One mother told how she lost 44 male members of her family; from brothers, sons and husband to all her cousins and uncles.
The President of Bosnia also spoke about how we must never forget how such events can happen unless we are vigilant. ...more

Posted By Bubb’s blog
On 10 July 2014 - 4:49pm

Lunch in the Master's Lodge at Emmanuel College, Cambridge today. Most agreeable, shame about the weather. One of ACEVO's brilliant regional events and this time hearing from Fiona Reynolds who is now Master of Emmanuel but known to us all in the third sector as the former CEO of the National Trust.
It was fascinating hearing Fiona talk about leadership and the challenges of implementing a vision and changing a culture against the odds and against the grain. She spoke about how she had worked to transform the NT culture of "closed arms conservation" to “open arms". Moving from “you shall not" touch, walk on grass, let kids shout etc to a welcoming and warm approach to people and places.
Fiona began her career in campaigning charities; around the need to protect the environment and countryside. She argued passionately about the importance of charity campaigning and the role we have played over the centuries. She reminded us all that this is the bedrock of what we do ...more

Posted By Bubb’s blog
On 7 July 2014 - 11:58am


Driving up to Charlbury on Friday we had the latest Dolly Parton CD "Blue Water" on. Did you see her at Glastonbury?  I did - or at least virtually via the dear old BBC (too old to actually go to these things now!). She is not just a good singer but a source of wisdom. I remember wanting to use one of her homely homilies in a lecture I was writing but my then Director, one Ralph Michell, was disapproving. He's now at the Cabinet Office where I'm sure they don't do Dolly.
Here are some of my favourites.
"The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain".
"Storms make trees take deeper roots".
"We cannot direct the wind, but we can adjust the sails".
It was a pretty glorious weekend in Charlbury. It's such a delight to move from the pollution of London  to the purer air of the Cotswolds. Walking the Hound down the Mill Stream I was reminded of just how beautiful our English countryside is; the bird song was joined by the ...more

Posted By Bubb’s blog
On 2 July 2014 - 2:37pm

It’s the start of the Holy month of Ramadan and this is the key time for Muslim charities to fundraise. Yesterday I met the CEOs of Islamic Relief and Muslim Aid, the 2 biggest Islamic charities in the UK, together with the head of the Muslim Charities Forum. The issues they raised disturbed me.
This is the time when Muslims obey the injunctions of the Koran to give.
"O you who believe, you shall give to charity from the good things you earnt and from what we have produced for you from the earth."
Indeed there is a more formal injunction on a Muslim to pay what is termed as "obligatory charity" in the Koran, know as the zakat. Although the exact amount is not defined in the Koran, the Muslim practice is to give 2.5% of income. 
It’s exactly like the idea of the Government's giving pledge but set at a higher level; not 1% but 2.5%. An example to us all.
The Islamic charitable tradition is a noble one, and around the Islamic world one sees ancient ...more

Posted By Bubb’s blog
On 1 July 2014 - 3:07pm


Up early for a spot of filming in Islington (where else) on pensions. And before you yawn, for many of us this is becoming a key issue. And it ought to be so for all my charity CEOs.
It's not just the "pensions revolution" that George Osborne announced this year, but also auto-enrolment that comes into force next year for all our staff.   These mean all charities have to review their existing schemes - some will not be approved for the future - and make arrangements for auto-enrolment. It has to be electronic and automatic when new staff join. There is also the question of how we tell staff about pensions and give them advice on choices.
ACEVO has worked with one of the country's top pension experts for over 14 years. Back before I came to ACEVO we chose Foster Denovo to provide our staff pensions and the experience was so good we asked them if they would work with member charities on their pension schemes. 14 years later we are now still working with them and ...more

Posted By Bubb’s blog
On 30 June 2014 - 12:23pm

Are you a quiet or noisy leader? What works best? I was at one of our ACEVO regional meetings in Oxford last week, and we had a fascinating debate on this in the wake of recent controversies.

A key role for any social leader is 'speaking truth to power'. But how do you do this? There are some CEOs who believe you must never speak out in public and do all your lobbying behind closed doors. They fear that if they are publicly critical they will be cut off from access or 'got at' in some way. 
This is wrong. No politician or senior official will pay you much attention if they think you will never speak out. That would mean they can safely ignore you. They will pay attention if they think you might speak out publicly, and if they think that what they are proposing is going to be criticised in the public domain. We social leaders hold a vital weapon in our hands. The media love us and we are trusted. When a politician or government official is interviewed the public are ...more