Tuesday, 24 June 2008

do you know your full costs? No 11 and america !

Just back from a reception at No11. Held for the great social enterprise " Women like us ". They support women with children back into flexible work . I can't report on the wine as I abstained ( yes , shock ) but the ginger cordial was Delicious. I had an interesting chat with Sarah Brown , who was wearing the most magnificent gold necklace ; I complimented her - she said she was off for a dinner with Nelson Mandela to celebrate his birthday. Lucky her . We were talking about employment initiatives and I told her about the acevo- DWP task force on welfare to work and told her that James Purnell was doing a fantastic job ; to which she replied he is like" a man on a mission "on it. And that is certainly true ,as I told James when he turned up later on .

Earlier that morning acevo had had its first hearing to collect evidence for the task force that James and I have set up . David Freud ( author of the seminal Freud Report ) is the Vice Chair. We had an interesting discussion on the need to find capital to support third sector organisatuiions bid for contracts. We talked about whether bodies like Futurebuilders and the newly proposed Social Investment Bank could be a good source of funding for this. I told him about our ideas for a merged Futurebuilders and a SIB.

There is a worry that the HMT are going cold on the idea . Obviously the Banks must be lobbying hard behind the scenes to stop the unclaimed assets bill from going through. They must be keen to keep hold of the money. I made a note to myself that we must step up pressure on HMT not to back down and to go ahead with the proposed bank.

On this occassion James outdid me on the tie front . His was better and mine was very dull and un bubb like. Though frankly not the most appaling on display . What Alistair Darling thought he was wearing I do not know .

acevo has just launched it's brand new Full Cost Business Planner . This is the culmination of an in depth piece of work in acevo with us using the well known Full Cost Recovery template and expanding and developing it for organisations to plan their wider business .

We launched first with acevo North in Leeds and then in London . both events were sold out and standing room only . Huge interest in the planner . Its heading for the best seller list . Another triumph for us and a tribute in particular to one of my staff Orli Gorenski .

I speak at the launch and disturb those standing at the back by beginning my talk at the year 2000 . They feared I would plough on through the rest of the decade . But I didn't . There was food and drink at the back and I respect the importance of the need to feed Chief Executives .

acevo has seriously changed funding regimes with our campaigning on Full Cost Recovery . It was generous of Gerald Oppenheim , the Big Lottery Fund Policy Director to pay a generous tribute to our work on changing the funding landscape and getting FCR on the political map . The Community Fund ( the predecessor to BLF ) was the first major funder to implement FCR . They helped us change attitudes and have funded work on FCR training . But as I have always said , we both need to change funders policy and to equip third sector bodies to properly calculate their costs. That was why we worked with the fantastic New Philanthropy Capital to develop FCR.

But I remember the early days , the cynicism and the opposition to the acevo work . People who said it was irrelevant . Said it was the wrong model . Or they had a better method . Well they were wrong . As often the case acevo was out there in the lead .At the front pushing boundaries and forcing change . Its what leadership is about . And if you want a copy ;and you should , go to the acevo website and order the guide and the disk .

I am home early and get an email from my nephew Julian , the one at Keble , not Christ Church . He is in the States doing an internship at Dartmouth College , Hanover , New England ( one of the Ivy league colleges ) . An amusing sideways look at America .

As he writes ; " Things are bigger ; people , cars and portions especially .... the only thing that is small is my room and it's a bit grotty . But it does have a nice view- over a graveyard in fact , lest I succumb to delusions of immortality . .. talking of disturbing things , even here in wishy_ washy liberal Hanover , there are big pick up trucks sporting American flags and adorned with slogans like " freedom isn't free" and " support our troops " . This does not seem to be meant ironically . "

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