He was arguing that social innovation is needed to support the non profit sector in times of financial troubles. He reminded us that whatever the financial problems let's remember we do still have huge resources. We just need to marshall them better.
We need to look more closely at what we do and how effective we are.
Social Innovation processes has different stages. The early stage is the ability to find new solutions and ways of working.
But how to get to scale? We need to transition to scale which is where Government comes in because they are often the largest funder and enabler of change. Amount of resources in US that go from Government to non profits is 10 times larger than from philanthropy and foundations. So Government is the "funder in chief". Government is key to promoting innovation and we must consider Government as a key partner. But both are under performing.
He also argues that we have inadequate interest in evidence. We can't establish that our programmes make significant difference to people. we often measure the impact of a project but do we know if what we do makes a real difference to our beneficiaries lives?
We need to find and to evaluate evidence on what interventions make for long term good. But we often don't.
So Government working with sector is important in developing positive interventions; for example the RNIB works for better lives for blind people by campaigning and providing services but it knows that only Government can develop national policies to make lives better which is why they developed the UK wide vision strategy and argues for Government ot adopt it. Which they did.
Meanwhile back in Blighty the NHS Mandate was published by Jeremy Hunt. It's good. It provides a real opportunity for the sector, whether that is in advocacy and community campaigns, or in research or in delivery of health and social care services.
The work programme between our two organisations will:
- Showcase existing best practice that has been developed by NHS trusts and voluntary organisations working together in the mandate’s priority areas;
- Assess how this partnership can develop further to deliver the improvements the mandate requires;
- Identify up to 20 concrete actions that either NHS trusts or voluntary organisations, or both in partnership, can undertake to drive the required improvements;
- Identify what is needed from the rest of the NHS to deliver these actions.