Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Heritage , Queens and Boards

The wisdom of taxi drivers! Coming home tonight I had a savvy Eastender telling me he has been listening to Speaker Martin explaining the Damien Green arrest . He said as he was listening he was reminded of an old Scottish work mate of his who , whenever anything went wrong, would explain, " F all to do with me mate " !

I just cannot imagine a Sector Chief Executive getting away with that one in front of their Board !

I left the office under strict instructions from my staff today . I was on my way to the Wallace Collection ,where the Department of Culture , Media and Sport were holding their annual reception for stakeholders. I was told I had to tell Andy Burnham MP, the Secretary of State ,that acevo members in heritage and arts were upset at the dropping of the Heritage Bill from the Queens Speech today .

And I faithfully did so . I must say I like Andy Burnham , and he said that he too was disappointed that thye could not get the Bill in but it was pressure of time . he did say though that he thought there was cross party support and that it might even get in depending on progress on other Bills. But it is a big bill ; and there has not been a heritage Bill for some time so a lot to sort and tidy . ACEVO has a big membership amongst the arts and heritage industry , and we have an active special interest group for the Chief Executives here . So we are asking Andy to come and meet with us so we can tell him ourselves how important this is . DCMS have a very large and strong group of third sector bodies they work with and we have good relations with the Department .

The Wallace Collection was a very splendid place for a reception . The art collection is very fine , and I stole off from the chit chat to look around. A chance to reflect on the ACEVO Board meeting this morning . We were discussing the arrangements for our new Chair election . One of my Board members said I was looking reflective . And that was true . I have had a very good Chair in John Low , the CEO of the Charities Aid Foundation . He has been a friend and counsellor to me for the last 4 years . In many ways an ideal Chair ,and a figure who has earned mush respect in the sector at large. We now will move onto a new Chair and a new and different relationship next year . I am very confident we will have an excellent new Chair ; the person concerned will be unveiled at our Annual General meeting in the Commons on January 19th. But today marked John's last board meeting . So like many of my members in a similar position ,it has been a time of reflection . At the core of a successful organisation is a good Chair and CEO. So as well as being a time of reflection it is also exciting to be moving into a new relationship and a new beginning . At a personal level I think I have gained a lot by having taken on the role of Chair at Futurebuilders . It has certainly contributed to me having a clearer view of the respective roles of a non executive and an executive ; the strengths of a good relationship and the power that comes from a good partnership at the top.

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