Thursday, 13 March 2008

Budget, Conference and Commonwealth Week

It’s amazing, the breadth of acevo’s membership. I am thinking of getting a dog (after years of having had a cat) and one of acevo’s members is the Chief Executive of the Battersea Dogs Home. Our membership is very broad third sector. It always has been. Whilst others are debating whether they should broaden out to “civil society” acevo has always recruited members from housing associations, unions, and even political parties. That is because we are a chief executive body and what binds us together is the reality of a chief executive’s job – often lonely at the top and where your support is often drawn from peer chief executives.

I sent out my regular “All Members” email on Tuesday. This contained a letter from my Chairman, John Low, about the arrangements for my new role as Chair of Futurebuilders. This is a real challenge. I love my job at acevo and get a real kick out of the work we do supporting and driving forward the Chief Executive’s third sector agenda. But I also need to do a good job steering Futurebuilders back on to track in supporting service delivery through the third sector.

Ten years ago I’d have taken this on with alacrity. Perhaps it is because I have now gone the other side of 55 that I am beginning to worry about proper balance and having a life. And having just been diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes I have got to get a grip on a proper diet and do some exercise. My wonderful NHS consultant wrote in his notes that that I have an “indolent attitude to exercise”. An extremely accurate description but I am going to have to take control. Douglas Smallwood, the Chief Executive of Diabetes UK, is an acevo member so I have written to tell him I shall be joining his organisation. However, I have promised not to make any trouble for him. He sent a very sympathetic reply back to me. Thanks Douglas.

Budget Day
A good budget. I think Ed Miliband and Phil Hope should be warmly congratulated on the work they did behind the scenes to get the transitional relief on gift aid. I do hope the sector will show appreciation for this instead of what we often do – whinge. Whinging has its place. However, so does thanks for a job well done.

Phil Hope rings me up to talk through the key items in the budget of concern to members. I am particularly interested in the support for smaller organisations to win contracts and tell him that this is very important for us. John Hutton has also published his Enterprise Strategy which talks about the role of the third sector. John is speaking at our Spring Conference “The Business of Charity”. John is a good Minister and an old friend. He strongly supports the role of the sector in delivery client focussed services. He has set up a taskforce to look at all of this and my Deputy, Peter Kyle, will be a member.

It’s Commonwealth week. Mark Collins, the Chief Executive of the Commonwealth Foundation, is a member and I am attending several of the Commonwealth Week celebrations. I was in the Abbey on Monday for a service attended by The Queen and on Wednesday evening went to the Commonwealth Lecture which was a brilliant exposition of the dangers facing the planet by climate change. It was actually quite chilling. The lack of action by world governments is truly quite shocking. But at least this is one area where the campaigning and advocacy of third sector organisations has helped drive this issue right up to the top of the political agenda. We have pointed out what governments need to do. Now let’s hope the politicians start listening to us.


Anonymous said...

Hi Stephen - great to see a senior figure in the sector joining the blogosphere, as I've remarked over here. I hope you'll be able to encourage other chief execs to take an interest in social media too.

the Internationale said...

I'm with David. Lead from the front! You're not alone though. I did some work with Brook and their amazing blogging boss: Simon has really settled into talking like a human being, with passion and voice... oh and he's reaping the benefits. It's good to have another Third Sector boss to point the slightly more timid at.

Anonymous said...

Kudos to you Stephen for joining the conversation.

It would be great if you could blog more often (easy for me to say).

NTemple said...

Welcome to the fray, Mr Bubb - have blogged your arrival, needless to say.

Anonymous said...

Good to see not just a charity chief executive blogging, but one from a sector infrastructure organisation. I look forward to more, and stick with the present tense approach.

the Internationale said...

And a quick update: