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Posted By Bubb’s blog
On 22 January 2015 - 11:36am

I’m blogging from Church House this morning (though not as a bishop). I’m at the launch of the Centre for Social Justice’s “Breakthrough Britain 2015”, and the recommendations in their “Social Solutions” report.

A major feature of this report is the urgent need for transformation of public services. There are some very good proposals which Government need to take seriously. These include recommendations on better commissioning practice - which should receive particular attention. The drive for public service reform, so strong under Blair and in the early years of Cameron, has dulled and in some cases almost disappeared. The radical proposals of the white paper on better public services have dropped into a pending tray.

Frankly, it’s hard to see how the big problems of health or social care, rehabilitation, employment and the like can be solved without a central role for the third sector. This theme has been in the news this week, for example, with ACEVO’s ...more

Posted By Bubb’s blog
On 20 January 2015 - 3:05pm

I'm not a morning person. Especially not in winter, so getting up in the dark to do BBC Breakfast and other interviews was a trial. I know I'm being wimpish! And of course a great opportunity to talk about how charities and social enterprises working together with health professionals deliver better health outcomes in hospitals and in the community. 
Of course I had to battle against the usual stereotype of charities as do gooding volunteers dispensing tea and sympathy. Surprised to see the Royal College of Nursing being so dismissive, indeed patronising, about the value of our intervention in the long term. I'm afraid they are out of touch with the nurses in casualty in the hospitals who have professional home from hospital services like those the Red Cross and RVS provide. The BBC breakfast package this morning had a good case study along these lines, of a trained volunteer helping frail elderly people get out of hospital quickly. 
Nurses and doctors are keen on the ...more

Posted By Bubb’s blog
On 14 January 2015 - 10:27am

On the sofa at 6.45 this morning! That is, on the sofa for ITV’s ‘Good Morning Britain’, where I was talking about how charities and social enterprises can work with the NHS to relieve pressure on A+E.
Of course we often forget charities have been working in hospitals for centuries. Indeed we used to run them. Not that I want to see a return to those days, but I do think people in the NHS increasingly see the value of our sector – professional staff  and trained volunteers – working alongside medical staff to ensure the right care and treatment for the frail elderly.
It’s scandalous that so many hospital beds are occupied by people who are not sick but cannot get back to home because of social conditions. It’s scandalous that older people who attend casualty are signed off by medical staff but end up in hospital because of a transport breakdown or worries there is no one back at home and it’s bitterly cold. Hospitals are bad places for people who are not sick. And it’s ...more

Posted By Bubb’s blog
On 13 January 2015 - 2:40pm

Well, what was noticeable about David Cameron's speech yesterday setting out his 6 priorities for the election was that it had no reference to Society, Big or Small. A sharp contrast to the 2010 election where 'Broken Britain' and a 'Big Society' featured strongly.
Will the full manifesto even mention their plans and aspirations for civil society, and the role we play in service delivery, voice or social cohesion? I guess we will have to wait and see, but the omens are not looking good.
I'm surprised. And disappointed. This election campaign has so far been marked by a failure to appeal to aspiration or any vision of a better society. Life is not all about economics, cost of living, GDP and the deficit. David Cameron got that back in 2010. What has happened?
Will we see better from Ed and Nick? And as for other parties I could name, I suspect their view of the sector predates even Queen Victoria.
This lack of narrative means our role as leaders of civil society ...more

Posted By Bubb’s blog
On 9 January 2015 - 10:34am

In the light of the appalling events in Paris we need to redouble our efforts as social leaders to promote community leadership and support the work of Muslim charities in their mission to promote cohesion and tolerance. If there are " British values" then tolerance for people of all faiths must be central to that. Living in Brixton over the decades shows me how a multi-cultural approach works. Farage is wrong and divisive to try and claim otherwise 
Acevo has been working with our Islamic charity CEOs to support them at this difficult time. I came across a brilliant article in The Times today. It is worth repeating here.  
Haras Rafiq (Director of Counter-Extremism Think Tank Quilliam) writes;
…“In the light of these terrible events, European Muslims will enter into a period of soul-searching and condemnation. Yet condemnation is not enough. Mosque imams, community leaders and Muslim politicians must come together to talk openly about the ideas that drive men such ...more

Posted By Bubb’s blog
On 5 January 2015 - 12:48pm

A new year, and it’s looking exceedingly political already. Will we all be bored to distraction over the next 4 months of hyper-electioneering? I suspect so, though we know it's an important choice that must be made.

We begin the new year 2015 in the certain knowledge of at least one election in the next twelve months. One political adviser was quoted over Christmas saying he could think of at least 10 likely outcomes of May 7th’s poll. It is a critical but uncertain time for charities and social enterprises, and all we know for sure is that demand for our services will increase while funding will continue to be under pressure.

Today's the start of the party election campaigns, and so with 121 days to the polls I thought I'd outline ACEVO's vision for the year.

We think the top priority for politicians of all parties should be ensuring the economic and social recovery extends to all of society. Charities are vital to making this happen, by reducing demand for ...more

Posted By Bubb’s blog
On 23 December 2014 - 9:46am

In 1941, Walt Disney wrote “One reason the Christmas season appeals to me is that it makes us suspend business-as-usual routines and lets our mind soar for a while.  It is a time when the imagination is more sprightly than at other periods of the year; Christmas seems to release even the most solemn of us from the Scrooge realism that occasionally besets all of us”. 
I know from some of my CEO colleagues that the scrooge mentality is already stalking the Council corridors in some parts, with big cuts to third sector funding on the way and more challenges to philanthropy and giving. But there are always opportunities.  That is why I have always been such a passionate advocate of more third sector service delivery.
How stupid it is that the NHS are not looking for a major push by the voluntary sector to help out with demand on A+E. We all know older people stay in hospital too long and we know many A+E visits are preventable with intervention at home. We know many older ...more

Posted By Bubb’s blog
On 20 December 2014 - 11:40am

The Charity Commission have issued their long-awaited opinion on Oxfam. Two issues were investigated: Oxfam's work in Palestine, and their ‘Perfect Storm’ Twitter campaign about poverty in the UK.
On the first point, Oxfam were exonerated completely. On the latter, I think, things got silly. The Commission concluded that “the tweet could have affected the views of those who received it and could be misconstrued by some as party political campaigning”.
Clearly, charities must stick to the rules. The public trust and value charities as independent organisations. The Charity Commission issues clear guidelines - its document ‘CC9’. They say charities may campaign politically, so long as they are not party political. This can be demonstrated by good governance and a transparent approach to decision making. So far, so good.

But there’s a serious ...more

Posted By Bubb’s blog
On 17 December 2014 - 12:06pm

Last night's Carols at the Royal Albert Hall proved as spectacular as always. Trumpets. A crowd of thousands and a brilliant choir and orchestra.

With Christmas holidays almost here, charity leaders and our organisations are thinking about 2015. Whichever way you view it, it's going to be a specially eventful year. Events in Russia this week might prove even more dramatic that what a British General Election can offer, but we're facing our own profound disruption and uncertainty in politics at home. Two elections perhaps. And all alongside further funding cuts that guarantee a hard time for the third sector - our country's other social safety net. But despite the many problems for charity leaders, there are perhaps some opportunities to hit the 'reset button' on our relationships across Westminster.

If these times are to be turned into an opportunity that will demand great leadership. Of biblical proportions, one might say.

So I was grateful for some wise ...more

Posted By Bubb’s blog
On 16 December 2014 - 10:35am

Well, another Carol Concert, this time at the House of St Barnabas, that wonderful charity in Soho which helps young people into training and jobs. The House is an elegant Soho Georgian townhouse which used to provide hostel accommodation for young girls. It was established in the 19th century by a religious order, so it comes complete with Chapel; an ideal place for a carol concert. Sandra Schembri, the CEO, is a valued ACEVO member and I like to show support. The house had to stop providing hostel accommodation because it became unsuitable, so Sandra came up with the great idea of turning the House in to a social leaders club, for which it is eminently suitable. It provides both  training and job placement for the young people they help. The Club generates revenue to support the charity. A brilliant place. Worth joining! 
Afterwards a lovely Christmas dinner at L'Escargot with my partner. 
Yesterday also saw the launch of the final report of the ACEVO Commission on ...more