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Posted By Bubb’s blog
On 19 September 2014 - 11:46am

It was a relief frankly when the final vote came in. We remain a United Kingdom. I was worried at the implications for the many ACEVO members who run UK-wide charities, or indeed have UK in their titles, not to mention ACEVO itself which is a UK body with members throughout the country.

What we do now know is that there will be further devolution of powers to Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and England. What will be the implications for civil society? 

Look back first to the Localism Act debates in 2010-11, when the government introduced more power for localities. David Cameron was clear that the Government were giving more powers to local councils, and that in return they expected those councils to give more power to citizens and communities. Hence the establishment of a community 'right to challenge’ the current delivery model of public services, and the right to acquire community assets, among other powers that were opened up to community groups and charities. ...more

Posted By Bubb’s blog
On 15 September 2014 - 12:26pm

A startling intervention on the shallow approach of big companies to the charity world came as a welcome surprise this weekend. Britain’s biggest companies have a superficial relationship with charities and volunteering, the Bank of England’s new chief economist said, as reported in The Times and The Economist.

Speaking at the Pro Bono Economics lecture, at the charity he helped to found, he made a strong plea for greater interaction between the non-profit and for-profit sectors. The Times reported that:
Andy Haldane used his first speech since taking up the job to criticise companies for failing to recognise the full value of charities, which he believes contribute as much to the economy as the entire energy sector.
He singled out in ...more

Posted By Bubb’s blog
On 12 September 2014 - 10:24am

Frankly, our sector is often pathetic when it come to leadership development. Trustees think this is all about training for staff—and often chief executives think spending money on themselves is selfish. We need to get a grip on this. I was fascinated by an article I was sent by a colleague which had an extract from an article by Ira Hirschfield of the Evelyn and Walter Haas Foundation based in San Francisco. I reproduce extracts here:
"Less than 1 percent. That’s the portion of overall foundation giving that went to leadership development between 1992 and 2011.
Foundations ask a great deal of the organizations we support—to strengthen community, meet urgent needs for services, solve complex environmental problems, influence public policy, and build and sustain movements for change. In short, we hope grantees will deliver transformational results for the people and ...more

Posted By Bubb’s blog
On 10 September 2014 - 12:11pm

A number of key meetings last week and this. First, with Norman Lamb MP, the Care and Support Minister (who will, incidentally, be speaking at our Lib Dem Conference event). He was the politician who made the brave pledge to move people with learning disabilities into the community and away from institutions like Winterbourne. The pledge has not been honoured, and I know he feels deeply about that, but he was right to make the pledge and right to be holding NHS England's feet to the fire (and indeed mine) on achieving it now. I was able to outline the key planks of the work we are doing in the steering group. We discussed the issue of closing facilites: clearly some are not for the NHS to close, but I argued there is a duty to spell out the journey that means we will close institutional care - so that care and support in the community is the norm not the exception. Of course this means we have to ...more

Posted By Bubb’s blog
On 5 September 2014 - 5:00pm

Adam Boulton, the ace political commentator for Sky TV, came to speak at one of our ACEVO leadership lunches. These are one of the secret treasures of ACEVO: a good lunch, top class speakers and splendid food and wine to aid mental digestion. And Adam did not disappoint. 

We were lunching in the aftermath of ‘Brooksgate' - where our Minister has quickly learnt how strongly our sector defends its independence. Adam had some wise words about our positioning as charities. He said that what the media want from charities is an independent voice and to hear our expertise. They are keen for facts to back up or to make a story. For the media it is our independence that matters, and so being seen to be aligned with a party, or what may appear as 'too party political,’ will be a problem. 

Of course the boundaries here are blurred. If you campaign on poverty is that seen as aligning yourself too much with the left? And if we point to the injustice created by the bedroom tax is ...more

Posted By Bubb’s blog
On 4 September 2014 - 9:59am

There has been a Twitter storm overnight, after remarks about charity campaigning made by our new Minister for Civil Society at a Conference yesterday. Initially reported in Civil Society, the comments then surfaced on the Guardian front page and in the MirrorTelegraph and Independent. Like many who saw the reports of his words, I was surprised to ...more

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