Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Yes, we are good!

An interview with the FT , another media story , a panel appearance at the London Health Conference , not to mention a 2 hour Directors Group to grapple with budgets! Exhausted by the time I eventually get home.

And , to be honest, it was a late night. Our joint dinner with NCVO board members turned into a triumph. Shock. Horror, we got on! Both trustee boards are working for the good of the sector. Martyn Lewis , the NCVO chair and my Chair , Lesley Anne spoke about the " journey" we are on as organisations. We are moving in to the NCVO refurbished office in it's new reincarnation as a sector hub. Who knows where that will lead. Possibly not joint walking holidays with me and Stuart though wine swapping may be on the cards. Seriously though we swap views on sector developments. I regret no photos of the historic event. But perhaps CCLA will be applying for a blue plaque.

I send a note to my members saying " you told us you wanted us to work more closely with NCVO. We heard. So we are". On Thursday the NCVO chair speaks at our annual conference. Both firsts. But not lasts.

I also say it is time we put an end to silly debates about small v large , national v local. This internal sizist nonsense is of no interest to beneficiaries or people generally .

Rob Owen , who is the CEO of the St Giles Trust which works with offenders emailed me yesterday to tell me about a quality mark they have achieved. I want to reproduce his email because it illustrates the power of our third sector. And as a reminder to Francis Maude and Oliver Letwin they need to pull their fingers out and increase commissioning of the sector becuase we are good!

"We have recently undergone a review of our MATRIX standards (an external quality mark for Information, Advice and Guidance services) which, to put it lightly, was extremely positive. Coming from an external agency it really gets what we are about and applauds aspects of our work as not just best practise but “best in class”! I have attached a copy for your information which we hope will support and demonstrate our ability to make the difference so currently needed in breaking the cycle."

My personal favourite bit from the report comes in the introduction. Here it is

St Giles have as their motto ‘Breaking the cycle of offending’ and they aim to achieve this by

‘putting offenders at the centre of the solution’. These are not just words that sound good or describe an ideal; they really represent the ethos that is passionately running through the organisation and personnel interviewed during the assessment. The results of such passion and energy is clearly seen in the high rate of successful outcomes, the dedication to maintaining a ‘real’ quality framework that constantly focuses on improving the ability of staff, improving the organisation and giving people a second chance in life with a view to
ultimately improving the ‘whole’ wherever it touches.

Our success, I strongly feel happens because we can believe we are part of something exciting. Big and bold. But it’s even more impactful when external audiences also realise our potential to do things substantially different.".

Rob is a star. A former banker and arch capitalist. He saw the light amd now runs a highly professional and hugely successful organisation. An active ACEVO member. As you would expect.

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