Congratulations to new ACEVO member Robin Evans. Today the Canals and River Trust take over the work of the quango British Waterways. A path braking move where a public body becomes a charity and can unleash the power and wealth of volunteers and donors to support and expand the work of this much loved institution.
As Robin, its CEO, was explaining this morning we have over 2000 miles of waterway. They have already built up a volunteer support that amounts to a staggering 35,000 days a year. They could only have achieved this through the plans to become a charity.
I have been supporting this move for years , since Robin and colleagues talked to me about the value of joining the third sector.
They have been able to negotiate a 15 years contract with Government as part of the transfer of assets.
This must point the way to other quangos. For example, its bizarre that the Big Lottery Fund is a quango and not a charity. The Care Quality Commission etc etc. Joining the third sector gives more independence and flexibility to act, to garner volunteers and to build a strategic role that is not dependent on the vagaries of Government.
So welcome the Canal and Rivers Trust and Robin. We want more converts. What a vote of confidence in the charity brand!