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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:
...more

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

Posted By Bubb’s blog
On 7 August 2014 - 4:25pm


May be interesting tonight... They are doing a piece on "What happened to Big Society". I asked whether this was a contribution to historical research!  Of course I'm doing a bit but apparently they having problems locating a politician as they are all off in the South of France etc. So we will see.
And I loved this recent comment from Dame Helen Mirren on social media. She told the New York Daily News.
"Twitter is like a greasy, horrible stinky old man in a corner of a bar. You go up to him and say 'hi' because you want to be polite then he starts being horrible". 
 My sentiments entirely. I have to say (perhaps an age thing) I try tokeep out of all that twitter stuff. My engagement with social media is this blog! ...more

Posted By Bubb’s blog
On 7 August 2014 - 12:01pm

May be interesting tonight....they are doing a piece on “what happened to Big Society". I asked whether this was a contribution to historical research!  Of course I'm doing a bit but apparently they having problems locating a politician as they are all off in the South of France etc. So we will see.

And I loved this recent comment from Dame Helen Mirren on social media. She told the New York Daily News
 “Twitter is like a greasy, horrible stinky old man in a corner of a bar. You go up to him and say 'hi' because you want to be polite then he starts being horrible". 
 My sentiments entirely. I have to say (perhaps an age thing) I try keep out of all that twitter stuff. My engagement with social media is this blog! ...more

Posted By Bubb’s blog
On 6 August 2014 - 4:16pm

August is not my favourite month for holiday so I tend to use it for informal meetings with ACEVO members and today I had lunch with Graham Duxbury, the new CEO of Groundwork. Graham took over from the inimitable Sir Tony Hawkhead who now looks after the nation's children at Action for Children. Graham has been with Groundwork for nearly 16 years and it’s good to see charities promoting their talented staff as opposed to searching for some supposed hot shot from the private sector. Groundwork operates in the most disadvantaged parts of the UK, improving people's lives and prospects and work in a green way.

"Changing places, changing lives- one green step at a time"
See their website here - www.groundwork.org.uk/
And Graham was after my thoughts on the search for a new Chair for Groundwork. So if you are interested there is more about the chair role on their website.
Yesterday I was seeing the Chair of the ...more