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Posted By Bubb’s blog
On 27 March 2015 - 10:49am


Two weeks ago I was in Pakistan, a guest of the Muslim Charities Forum (MCF) and yesterday I joined colleagues at a press conference to report on that visit.  I went with 2 ACEVO members; Jehangir Malik, the CEO of Islamic Relief and Dr. Othman Moqbel, CEO of Human Appeal who were representing all the Ceos of the MCF.
The objectives of this visit were:
1. To show solidarity with the MCF at a time when they face unprecedented challenges to their work and demonstrate a leadership role for ACEVO in standing up for members working to build community leadership in the Muslim community in the UK.
2.  To see for ourselves how the MCF charities work on the ground in ...more

Posted By Bubb’s blog
On 26 March 2015 - 3:04pm

Last night I went to the Muslim News Awards in Grosvenor Square; a grand occasion that brings together many of the leaders of our country's Muslim community.  A time of celebration but also of reflection as many in that community feel they must battle prejudice and intolerance.  Many good ACEVO members there and ACEVO has been proud to show solidarity with them as they battle to provide the services and community leadership we all need.

I have recently returned from Pakistan with members of the Muslim Charity Forum, where I have seen for myself the work they do and discussed the challenges they face.  Later this afternoon I will join colleagues in a Press Conference at The ...more

Posted By Bubb’s blog
On 25 March 2015 - 3:29pm

A great Hustings last night at Church House with the 5 parties (the 3 main plus UKIP and the Greens) delivering their Party's view of the sector.

All very civilised; but then we are charity leaders, so we are polite. Indeed even UKIP got a fair hearing (though a few titters at some of the more "interesting" remarks). Nothing much of a revelation in terms of policies. Good questions from the floor.  An obvious one on the mystery of the missing £40m sustainability fund. Rob Wilson failed to reveal (said they were still working on it).  An interesting response on the issue of bank accounts for Muslim charities from UKIP who indicated the State should intervene.
The hated Lobbying Act was a ...more

Posted By Bubb’s blog
On 25 March 2015 - 3:29pm

A great Hustings last night at Church House with the 5 parties (the 3 main plus UKIP and the Greens) delivering their Party's view of the sector.

All very civilised; but then we are charity leaders, so we are polite. Indeed even UKIP got a fair hearing (though a few titters at some of the more "interesting" remarks). Nothing much of a revelation in terms of policies. Good questions from the floor.  An obvious one on the mystery of the missing £40m sustainability fund. Rob Wilson failed to reveal (said they were still working on it).  An interesting response on the issue of bank accounts for Muslim charities from UKIP who indicated the State should intervene.
The hated Lobbying Act was a ...more

Posted By Bubb’s blog
On 19 March 2015 - 12:16pm

So, the Budget. And the missing £40m. It’s disgraceful that the Local Sustainability Fund still hasn’t been launched, more than a year after it was first announced. This idea - promoted by ACEVO and agreed by OCS under Nick Hurd - has been quietly dropped for now. They hoped quietly but I intend to ensure there is nothing quiet about this manoeuvre. Of course we suspect why this has happened. The idea that you need a ‘sustainability fund’ implies there are many charities in danger from funding cuts and rising demand for their services. This does not fit the current narrative of the ruling coalition. I suspect the hand of Lynton Crosby in excising this particular ‘barnacle’ from the budget speech ‘boat’.

So will Rob, our civil society minister, now stand up for the sector and insist on the fund going ahead? We have only a week before purdah. I’m hoping that Rob will set the record straight at our ACEVO ...more

Posted By Bubb’s blog
On 17 March 2015 - 9:18am

Last Friday saw a very thoughtful editorial by the Editor of Third Sector Stephen Cook, on the Charity Commission. The points he make are pertinent and highlight the problem there now is with the Commission which is now concerning more and more of us in the sector. 

He writes,

"The Charity Commission has been busy recently, and it’s instructive to examine three of its latest publications for their differences in style and message. The first is the regulatory alert of 3 March, issued after the news that two charities had funded Cage, the pressure group that has suggested that Mohammed Emwazi, aka Jihadi John, had been radicalized by his contact with the security services; the second is a statement the commission issued on 6 March about charities funding Cage; and the third is an operational case report from 10 March on the Beatbullying Group, ...more

Posted By Bubb’s blog
On 4 March 2015 - 12:31pm

ACEVO has a strong membership in charites and social enterprises in social care, health and disability, so we hold an annual national conference to debate issues of concern and hear from key people in the sector.

We had a bumper crop this year. All the main parties set out their stalls. Paul Burstow MP, Jeremy Hunt MP and Andy Burnham MP spoke, but perhaps the most interesting session was when Simon Stevens (head of NHS England) set out some of the issues he faces leading NHS England, and asked for our views.

Inevitably, since the emergence of the disgraceful new grant conditions to be imposed by DCLG to snuff out advocacy in our sector (that morning's Times) there were questions on this. Paul Burstow from the Lib Dems was quick to denounce what he called "the Pickles gag" and Jeremy Hunt, though he would not comment directly on the Pickles move, was clear about charities' ...more

Posted By Bubb’s blog
On 3 March 2015 - 3:50pm

That was the way Paul Burstow MP described the news about the DCLG grant condition to prevent the third sector's advocacy role, when he spoke at our health and social care conference today. The Times carried this story front page today.


It’s clear that the idea of banning charities from campaigning, if they get government grants, offends the principle of the independence of the sector. But it is also bad for Government in developing evidence-based policy. Bad laws are made when governments fail to take account of the evidence from the front line of public services - ...more

Posted By Bubb’s blog
On 27 February 2015 - 1:45pm

The news that the health and social care budgets in Manchester are to be integrated is a massive step forward for better health and well-being there - and a beacon for the rest of the country.

When I wrote the Winterbourne View report I recommended that budgets for health and care for people with learning disabilities must be combined. This move in Manchester will enable better planning and commissioning that ensures community placements,  not placements in institutions. Interestingly, the figures on the use of institutions show that the North uses institutions for people with learning disabilities significantly  more than the rest of the country. Often councils have block contracts with institutions like Calderstones in Lancashire, and it is too easy for them to use those places than make proper provision in the community. And shockingly these cost up to £12,000 a week. Community places are both more cost effective and better care. The move in Manchester and the decision ...more

Posted By Bubb’s blog
On 26 February 2015 - 11:44am

It's a long time since I ate a semolina pudding! But Monday I was having lunch with Baroness Angela Smith in the House of Lords. Angela was the last third sector Minister before the coalition took over and appointed Nick Hurd. But she had the rank of Minister of State - the coalition demoted the role I'm afraid. Angela was also my parents' MP when she was in the Commons, so we like to keep in touch. She continues to take a huge interest in the third sector and is one the Commissioners on the Low Commission on better regulation (they have a meeting on Friday).
Last night was a fun and somewhat poignant leaving party for Anne Longfield who is leaving 4Children after 27 years to become the Children's Commissioner. Anne has been a superb CEO and a long time member of ACEVO. The distinguished guest list was a testament to her success. Why, I even bumped into Cherie Blair (literally, as I was reaching for my coat!). Harriet Harman emerged from her bus and many doyens of the ...more