Wednesday 23 March 2011

Strategic grants

Waiting at luggage reclaim is not often exhilarating but it was yesterday. Standing waiting for bag laden with dirty washing and bottles of wine ( strictly within allowed limits he advises hastily ) I get a text from my Deputy, Dr Kyle which puts spring in my steps.

ACEVO's bid for a strategic grant with OCS has been agreed with an exciting partnership bringing in New Philanthropy Capital and Euclid Network. We are one of only 9 partners in a refreshed scheme. And our allocation has increased from £210k to £415k. This is great news for ACEVO members, allowing us to continue to build on our very strong reputation of representing them at the heart of government.

There were two important hallmarks of our bid. Firstly we wanted to underline the work we do across Government on sector- state relationships, particularly in delivering public services, maximising resources and in how to demonstrate impact.

Secondly we wanted to emphasise our experience in working in partnership across the sector. This includes work with Volunteering England, Social Enterprise London, BTCV and the newly merged Locality.

We also made clear a commitment to work more closely with NCVO, with an MoU outlining key areas of collaboration. Much is made of the supposed rivalry between our organisation but in truth there is much common ground. There are also differences in emphasis and approach on matters. Why wouldn't there be? No one expects the CBI and the IoD to say exactly the same thing or act in the same way but both clearly defend and promote private sector interests. In a diverse sector like ours one should not just expect different approaches but welcome them.

However on the core messages, we are at one and we intend to work more closely together in the face of the cuts and threats to the sector. So we will be running more joint events for example and increase the liaison between us at both executive and board level. Some people would probably be surprised at the contact between myself and Stuart and between our Chairs, but they shouldn't be. And the fact that I and Stuart have differnet approaches on issues is not a problem but an opportunity for the sector in promoting our value and voice.

There is a strong shared interest in the lead sector organisations working closely with Government to promote the sector's role. And that does not compromise our essential role in speaking out when we need to defend and protect our sector from bad government decisions ( whether local or national ).

We can help shape and deliver Government agendas that promote sector interests and public service reform is forefront in much of this; which is why ACEVO works with OCS, DH, DWP, MoJ, DfE, CLG, HMT and No 10 to ensure the terms of trade are right.

ACEVO has been at the very front of the arguments on cuts and our voice is loud and insistent. It must be. Government sensibly recognises this entirely legitimate role -as demonstrated in the decision on our strategic grant.

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