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Posted By Bubb’s blog
On 29 August 2014 - 11:21am

A recent storyin the Times, and picked up by the Daily Mail, highlights the attempts by the Charity Commission to make us declare spend on political campaigning.
It has been roundly criticised across the sector and I trust the Commission will now drop these proposals. We would be very happy to discuss with the Commission how we , as a sector,  can make our accounting more transparent and work with them on the trend towards impact reporting which demonstrates to the public the impact of their donations.
It's impact that matters , not the sterile reporting of where money is spent. This is where we can tell the story of what we do with the money we receive , whether from government contracts or from the public or corporate donors. We should have a common position with the regulator on ...more

Posted By Bubb’s blog
On 28 August 2014 - 9:19am

A recent article by my old friend David Brindle in the Guardian highlighted the problem we face in moving people with learning disabilities out of hospital into the community and reflects the background of the work we are doing on a commissioning framework in our NHS England steering group.
The problem we need to tackle is that more people with learning disabilities are being placed in hospitals like the one at the centre of the Winterbourne View scandal than are being moved out, despite a brave government commitment to move all people out of inappropriate inpatient facilities. Latest official figures released four weeks ago show that in the three months to the end of June, 358 people were admitted to so-called assessment and treatment units in England. Only 261 were discharged.
A subsequent review by the Government following the scandal concluded that personalised care and support in appropriate community settings is vital. There is a strong consensus around that aim. ...more

Posted By Bubb’s blog
On 27 August 2014 - 5:41pm

The ‘something must be done’ brigade have been in full voice in recent weeks. No-one doubts the threat posed by the upsurge of violence in the Middle East, but the situation is complex and difficult and the history of western intervention is fairly disastrous. So, for example, one of the consequences of the overthrow of Saddam, the tyrant that he was, has been the persecution of Christian minorities that he protected. Similarly with Assad. That does not justify those regimes but it does indicate this is not so simple as the armchair strategist would have us believe. And how noticeable that the ‘something must be done’ brigade, who were so loud in demanding the bombing of Syria, are now arguing we had better side with him against the greater enemy.
The demands for instant action spill over into demands for yet more draconian laws targeted at the Muslim community in the UK. Meanwhile, little is done to build community cohesion or support the work of those in the Muslim ...more

Posted By Bubb’s blog
On 20 August 2014 - 8:58am

So, it’s the silly season and you can expect fluffy stories, one of which appeared in the Sunday Telegraph this weekend. I had bought a copy after early morning Communion and it had me chortling on my croissant. Apparently charities are being taken over by former advisors to Gordon Brown. A lurid headline “former brown aides fighting coalition as charity chiefs" failed to provide any evidence to back this up.
It would appear that on the ST logic you are unable to perform a professional job for a charity if you previously worked for a labour politician. So they castigate Justin Forsyth who is doing a tremendous job at Save the Children in incredibly taxing times simply for his former role with our last Prime Minister. No evidence is provided that somehow their work has been subverted by improper political influence.
The reality is that many former advisors to Blair and Brown are in jobs across the public, private and third sectors. That is because they are talented ...more

Posted By Bubb’s blog
On 15 August 2014 - 3:43pm

I first came across the “graph of doom" in Exeter when I was meeting the CEO, Phil Norrey, of Devon County Council. This set out the stark reality of local government finances; that on the current trajectory the only services councils will be able to deliver are basically the statutory services for the old and refuse collection. But when I was with the CEO of Nottinghamshire County Council Mick Burrows recently he was talking about a graph of opportunity. In other words, thinking of how to deliver differently.

Whatever way you cut it local councils have one heck of a task on their hands. They have faced massive reductions in budgets and face similar huge cuts to come. They have by and large faced the challenge well, though we know that many third sector bodies have faced unprecedented cuts and in some cases had to close down.
The bald facts of the finances make it clear that councils need to look afresh at their delivery role and look at how the third sector can be ...more

Posted By Bubb’s blog
On 14 August 2014 - 1:14pm

I hate those fascist like signs that are increasingly seen in our parks and public spaces “No Dogs". The sort of signs that call for civil disobedience from us dog lovers. They’re stupid too, when we should be encouraging more dog walking as we all understand better the dangers of obesity. I'd have dog walking on the NHS for diabetics!
Anyway this is just a lead in to say farewell to the wonderful Clarissa Baldwin who is stepping down as CEO of the Dogs Trust after 28 years. An inspirational and much loved leader. I well remember my visit out to see her at their HQ. She is perhaps best known as the author of the slogan “A dog is for life not just for Christmas". And the Dogs Trust is in safe hands as they have appointed Adrian Burder who has been working at the Trust for some time and knows the ropes. Good luck in leading them. I should mention that both my Chair and I are Dogs Trust members! And Clarissa was a longstanding member of ACEVO.
And finally, another huge ...more

Posted By Bubb’s blog
On 13 August 2014 - 5:21pm

What a treat to listen to John Major on Radio 4 this morning! He was born just down the road from me on Coldharbour Lane and talked about his Brixton days. He, like me , was a Lambeth Councillor – though not quite in the same era!

What I found reassuring was his welcoming attitude to immigration. He was pointing to his own experience of hard working and ambitious immigrants in Brixton. Such a change of dialogue from the nasty, divisive speeches we get these days from many politicians who want to pitch to base instincts and spread scare stories about scroungers and welfare cheats . This discourse is corrosive to social cohesion and builds on people’s prejudices, without so much as a shred of proper evidence, as opposed to pub room chatter and anecdote. Or should we call this ‘policy making by the Daily Mail’?
But political discourse is pretty dismal all round. A classic example today was the announcement of unemployment figures. For the government this is evidence of ‘ ...more

Posted By Bubb’s blog
On 13 August 2014 - 3:27pm

This week the Charity Commission closed their latest consultation on their Annual Return for 2015. As one of the main regulatory tools, which makes up the Commission's Register, it is important to ask the right questions. We took a strong line at ACEVO (see our website here) in opposition to the Commission's proposals – which received third sector press coverage here, hereand here. Here's our submission in full:

Posted By Bubb’s blog
On 12 August 2014 - 4:58pm

A fascinating few hours with the CEO of the British Heart Foundation on Monday, though it did make me think about whether I'm getting enough exercise (as he gently reminded me). I took a lovely leaflet from reception, “put your heart into walking" which is worth getting. And as I mentioned I do a lot of walking with the Hound.

I met for lunch with Simon Gillespie who has been a longstanding and valued member of ACEVO for many years (he was previously at the MS Society). This is one of the country’s biggest charities. Over 3000 staff and turnover above 200 million. It plays a vital role in the research that goes on into discovering the causes of heart problems and working on cures. Much of the advances in heart research has turned strokes and heart attacks into a long term condition as opposed to what carried you off into the next world is down to this wonderful charity. As I remarked to Simon, too often the NHS claims all this research as its own. In fact a third of all ...more

Posted By Bubb’s blog
On 8 August 2014 - 3:17pm

So we have now had the 'guidance' from the Electoral Commission on the Lobbying Act for a couple of weeks. Long enough to consult widely on it and begin to reflect on how we might comply. "Incomprehensible" is one way to describe it. More specifically, it is helpful in places but based on a poorly drafted Act that is wrong in principle. 
As ACEVO have long warned, the Lobbying Act will affect our historic right to campaign if we let it do so. That means our job between now and the election is to go about our usual business of campaigning and awareness-raising so far as we can. The 292 pages of guidance published to date leave several areas of uncertainty that we will do our best to clarify in the next few weeks, such as the rules about joint campaigning and the details of the new constituency spending limit of £9,750.

Five Electoral Commission staff attended a meeting on Tuesday at ACEVO Towers organised hosted by Bond, ACEVO and others involved with the Commission on ...more