Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Job creation , recovery and Bubb preserved

Well , its official . I am to be on the British Library Blog Collection . They have written to me saying that they have a responsibility to preserve national documentary heritage for future generations. Their collecting responsibility extends to UK non print material including websites and so they have been selecting key sites to form the basis of the Blogs Collection . As they say , " the collection will be a valuable resource for researchers now and in the future. "

I have to admit to a modicum of immodest pride that my blog is to be archived. But of course it does rather raise the bar in terms of me carrying on blogging , and even being more discreet ( perish the thought! ). " Bubbist thought preserved for posterity . Can't be bad . Quite what future generations will make of the third sector, or me, remains to be seen!

I see that predictions on unemployment say it will rise to 3ml by 2010. Today it rose to nearly 2m. One of our commercial members has told us that whilst last year there were 70 vacancies per 100 people on job seeker allowance; now it is only 7 per 100. ( though later when I used this statistic with James Purnell he said it was wrong? ) . James , incidentally ,was in a undemonstrative grey tie , perhaps marking the gloom of the recession . Even I was in understated mode.

I am increasingly clear the third sector must lead on job creation . I am relentlessly pushing this message .The fact that Obama will have a major job programme will help convince the treasury I'm sure .

I have had 2 ministerial meetings today to talk through the role the sector can play. Both meetings were extremely productive and marked by a common sense of purpose . I also pushed this line with Nick Hurd for the Tories yesterday . We will see where it goes. I am optimistic though . The government does understand the fundamental point that the sector is a key social and economic player . The opportunity exists to use both the recession action plan and the forthcoming White Paper on public service delivery as a way of putting the third sector in a leadership role for helping recession and recovery .

A bizarre item on " Today " this morning with football teams bemoaning the loss of commercial sponsor hip. One chap was suggesting they will be looking for sponsorship from charities and hospices. I thought the system was the other way round; sports helping charities raise money?

But this has highlighted a real problem for us . At the ACEVO lunch I held for chief executives of the larger charities it was very clear there will be a drastic fall in commercial sponsorship this year. One charity in ACEVO membership raises nearly 75% of their income from the commercial sector and are now facing insolvency . So we are now seeing how far " corporate social responsibility " was for real and how far it was a PR exercise that is ditched when the going gets tough . I'm thinking of opening a Big Black Book in which to enter the names of companies that play fast and loose with CSR so that come recovery the sector will know who to avoid. In a crisis you find out who your friends are!

The morning though started with our own ACEVO Director's group . We are discussing our plans to support and advise members who are facing difficulty . One of the founding principles of ACEVO is that it is a network of CEOs and they can turn to each other for support at a time of crisis . Often a CEO cannot fully discuss worries or plans with staff or trustees and need the help , experience and guidance of other CEOs who have faced those problems . We want to develop a panel of such Chief Executives as well as beefing up the services we offer to members in crisis. We have a huge range of tailored services but we are not always sure members know about them all . So we need to up our communications and marketing .

We will also be putting on recession workshops for Chief executives; in fact ACEVO was off the blocks back in September when we and the CAF laid on such workshops. Leadership again . But leadership also involves working with others and particularly with other key sector leaders. joined up approaches will be needed form us all .

And the evening ends with a dinner at our friends CCLA ( suppliers of investment to the sector ) for a further meeting of our Tory task force under Harriett Baldwin, Deputy Chair of Futurebuilders. A group of members who are working on comments and advice on the Conservatives Green paper on the third sector. A lively discussion . the next meeting is an evidence taking session , then a meeting in Worcestershire and final dinner with Nick Hurd before we launch the report of our conclusions.


Anonymous said...

Stephen, please can you elaborate a little more about how the third sector can 'create' jobs. Especially jobs that are sustainable - rather than temporary posts funded by the taxpayer.

It is one thing to use public money to create employment. It is another thing to build an organisation that creates value and uses THAT value that IT creates to pay employees. While the former process my provide a much need short term palliative and an opportunity to improve some otherwise disastrous unemployment figures (haven't we been here before?) it is only the latter process that really 'creates' jobs. I am clear that the third sector has a massive role to play in this process too - because of its unique position in some of the most badly hit communities. I am just not sure that much of the third sector recognises it!

I think a well thought through paper on the role of the third sector in supporting creative local enterprise strategies is long overdue - or perhaps I have just missed it?

Mike Chitty

Sarah Allen said...

Delighted for you that you are to be preseverd - always find this blog such an interestign read as one aspiring to senior office. Congrats!