Friday 15 October 2010

Bristol and Lambeth Commission on Personalisation

Making my way back to london at a leisurely pace! And this morning I dropped into one of the country's best Parish Churches, St Mary's Redcliffe. Queen Elizabeth 1st, the author of our Charity Law, described it as the finest and fairest Parish Church in England.

Here she is from a statue in one of the chapels.

Bristol has a glorious history of Charity. In the early 19th Century the many ancient and often religious charities had been visited by the Brougham Charity Commissioners and it was decided to reorganise them under the 1834 Local Authority reorganisation which allowed Councils to take over and amalgamate parochial charities. And so the Bristol Charity was born, and still running today. It incorporates some 13 old charities but is still going strong by incorporating more recent organisations.

I suspect we may see more of this reorganisation, amalgamation and merger happening when the cuts bite. Although this would go down like a lead ballon in many parts of the sector, I wonder if local Councils might play a more proactive role in encouraging charities to come together!

ACEVO has been working with Lambeth Council on developing support to the local voluntary sector on making the transition to a personalised market. A brilliant piece of work led by one of my fabulous policy team Amy Richards. It reports soon - Nov 9th to be exact. Watch out for it. As part of this work The Lambeth Commission on Personalisation was led by jeremy Swain, the talented CEO of Thames Reach, a thriving and expanding homelessness Charity, with an annual turnover of £22 m. One of the special features of their work is that they employ homeless people in their work. 103 of them. They use the experience and expertise of these staff to ensure their service delivery is well and truly tuned to the needs of homeless people.

I wonder is this an example of the "Big Charity mindset" Nat Wei was describing?

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