Monday, 31 March 2008

Baby Boomers...and Building Third Sector Capacity

Did you know that at the next General Election the majority of people actually voting will be over 60! And yet politicians continue to concentrate on youth and kids. The only time we hear of old people is as a problem! A drain on resources. Decrepit. Costing the health service too much.

As I get older (and as a member of the baby boomer generation) I intend to be working for a few more decades. Perhaps not a 5 day week but I ain’t a retiring typ ! And there will be many of us. Active in the community. Talented. And wanting to give something back. So perhaps the politicians should start to think of older people in a more positive light.

I get this interesting snippet from Stephen Burke, acevo member and acevo trustee. He runs Counsel and Care we are thinking of how the third sector can start addressing the challenges and opportunities of age.

I made this point to Hazel Blears - the wonderful energetic Secretary of State for DCLG at our acevo North lunch in Manchester. Members at the lunch were nodding in enthusiastic agreement.

I was speaking at a dinner Stephen Burke had organised. And I had come straight from a Board meeting of the Adventure Capital Fund. We are putting in place the new arrangements for FBE. In 2 weeks we are doing a series of regional events - Leeds, Manchester, Birmingham and Newcastle. That will be interesting! From April 1st we are in business. Making investments. Supporting third sector service delivery. And we will have new processes that put an emphasis on speedy response, prompt assessment and decisions and getting the money out into the hands of the sector.

Now its not all lunches and networking as an acevo CEO. I spend most of last evening catching up on emails and tackling the nitty gritty of life as a sector CEO. Always on the look out for money and opportunity. My new FD is getting to grips with the new budget we have to put in place and I'm trying to organise a strategic away day for our staff and Board. It’s a real asset that we have both fantastic staff and a supportive Board of sector giants. They are good to me! You might imagine that a board of only CEOs might be a tough one. But not a bit of it. They add real value.

I have to deal with a really notty problem faced by a member wanting advice and support in facing potential closure. This is a key part of the job. I guess a bit like being the CEO union convenor! But if I can be helpful then that is a job worth doing. It can be tough sometimes for a charity CEO. The comradeship of acevo is an important feature of our work. And it is humbling to remember what it can be like at the coal face

I have a note from Simon Hebditch marking his last day. This prompts me to think the opportunity there may be for a merger or alliance between Capacity Builders and Future Builders. We need to reduce the number of bodies and bureaucracy in the sector. And perhaps at the very least there is scope for more joint working. FBE and CB are both in the business of capacity development so it might make sense. I shall pursue.

And whilst in Manchester I meet one of my members who is a Capacity Builders trustee, she suggested we have a joint meeting of the Boards to discuss how to work together. Great. I will pursue but first will email Chris Pond as the Chair to get his view. He is also a member and a great guy- knows what is needed to drive forward change

And the weekend gets off to a great start when I get an invite from the PM to attend a conference where there are to be no less than 15 heads of State attending. And a former Head of State. Its a weekend so that's a posser eh! Well, not really. This is a fantastic opportunity but also a great tribute to where acevo has got to nationally and internationally. Let's hope we can get the third sector featuring in the discussions.

1 comment:

simonh said...

As a fellow baby boomer, although Stephen is only just a little bit younger than me, let me comment on his suggestions of a possible merger between Futurebuilders and Capacitybuilders. Of course, the two agencies are addressing the same overall issue - capacity building - but with different constituencies so any merger as such will have to be thought about very carefully.

There will certainly be pressure, as we approach a very long election campaign, to show how public agencies apparently working in roughly similar fields can be cost effective themselves. There should be a gradual process, increasing areas of possible collaboration initially whilst looking at the potential for more formal links.

Whatever happens, it will be vital that the two bodies develop a proposal which they can sign up to and present to government over the next couple of years rather than finding a solution imposed from government itself.

Simon Hebditch
former Chief Executive, Capacitybuilders