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Posted By Bubb’s blog
On 29 September 2014 - 3:58pm

Well we had a fantastic fringe meeting with our new Minister for Civil Society Rob Wilson. A great chance to welcome Rob to his new brief and to hear a lively debate between David Gauke (Financial Secretary to the Treasury), Clare Pelham (Leonard Cheshire), Caroline Mason (Esmée Fairbairn Foundation) and Nick O'Donohoe (Big Society Capital).

Here's a few photos...

David Gauke, Rob Wilson and me.

David Gauke speaking.


Posted By Bubb’s blog
On 29 September 2014 - 11:53am

.... Macmillan once laconically observed.
And so it was this last weekend. So we now have a new Civil Society minister, Rob Wilson and I'm glad to say I will be meeting him at lunchtime when he comes to the Acevo fringe on social investment (supported by our good friends SIB and BSC).
I'm proud  that we have a top quality fringe programme here at Conservative Party Conference. Tomorrow we launch our "Blue Book", the second in our series of conversations with key politicians and opinion formers on their views of the role of the third sector (in association with our friends at CAF). The Blue book has contributions from a range of tory thinkers; the launch of its counterpart The Red Book was the 'must-attend' event at Labour; we're expecting similar things here.
Tomorrow we have a stellar line up of the Blue Book authors. All, that is, apart from the person who contributed the Foreword, our former Minister. Even without that curiosity it's very much worth getting a copy ...more

Posted By Bubb’s blog
On 23 September 2014 - 11:07am

As usual, Labour Conference this year has been fascinating and tiring in equal measure. Unlike recent years though we're doing a bumper programme of ACEVO fringe events - the largest in many years.

We started well on Sunday night by launching The Red Book of the Voluntary Sector with our friends at CAF. Do read the book - it's available here. And I do have to note my preference for 'third sector' over 'voluntary sector'.

It was a brilliant event. We had 11 speakers in an hour and many Parliamentarians dropping in and out during their first night of conference schedules.
As Ed ...more

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