The evening is a whirlwind of lobbying. I'm particularly pushing the need for a Community Reinvestment Act. I think it is excellent that the government have finally got to grips with the need to control the behaviour of Banks I'm arguing that a CRA should be part of such legislation. Part of the payback for the banks bail- out. And as crucial is the desperate need for action to establish a Social investment Bank.
Today was a good lunch time fringe led by the Charity Commission " community, cooperation and compromise" as it was rebranded at the meeting. Jill Pitkeathley argued for the need for greater political sophistication in the sector. She argued that there are opportunities in the current climate and third sector organisations need to co-operate and indeed " compromise" to achieve aims. My Chair spoke about how a new model of alliance has worked in the sight loss world and that whilst there is no argument for a monopoly and there is a case for a diversity of organisations but having over 700 sight loss charities is too many. Nick Partridge of the great and pioneering charity , Terence Higgins also spoke of the value of mergers! But also the challenges of the process! The charity commission publish advice in both collaboration and mergers. Click here to read.
I got a chance to talk to Mandelson last night about his speech- of course I did know him at Oxford and he has done somewhat well since then! But I was particularly flattered when speaking to Jack straw MP to be told that he had been particularly struck by the book ACEVO had published back in 2003, which we called provocatively " Replacing the state"and how those ideas had led directly to the new contracting process for prisons and the contracts for prisons where third sector organisations are working with commercial organisations. It is a vivid demonstration of the value of lobbying and thought leadership. I was touched and heartened by this - a good example of the power of advocacy on behalf of our sector's Chief Executives.
We shall see how the Conservatives respond in Manchester!