Wednesday, 9 July 2008

On media and men ( and Hazel )

I was having a great day till I opened the Third Sector magazine . An article on Blogs with a review of 4 from sector leaders . Mine may have been judged second but it is only scored 7/10 and Adam Sampson gets 8/10. Who is this Chris Arnold guy doing the review and why has he such poor judgment ? It seems he likes the Adam blog cos it has a picture of him " holding a glass " ( a butch beer glass I might add ). And my blog apparently is full of typos. Really ? I always use the spell checker so I blame the computer. Anyway typos are a sign of a free spirit , untroubled by mere convention . Derrida would have approved.

But that aside there is a great story on the idea I have been floating - you read it here first - for a Social Investment and Development Bank . " Bid to build £1bn finance market " ,runs the headline . Interesting that I pick up a couple of negative comments as well as encouragement But I believe you need ambition for our sector. And ideas and innovation . A key part of my role as acevo CEO is thought leadership . If our sector is to grow we must have ambition and people who want to think big. But I have often found that if you have a big idea there will be plenty who like it and then others who can't wait to whinge . If an idea is good though it will withstand the criticism . But if I have learnt anything from my time at acevo, it is to make progress you need to be bold . Limiting ambition is not what our sector is about . I hope to at least start a debate . My argument needs to be tested and debated. if it stands up I hope government will take it forward . If not then it will die . It must be a debate worth having ; driving more capital into our sector to build capacity and develop infrastructure is essential to underpin growth .

It was interesting that last night I was at a dinner where Andrew Neill was speaking . He was clear that this century will see the growth of our sector and the power and influence we wield.Are we ready to take that much bigger role ?

To press home that point it was amusing to see today's FT carrying an article and interview ( page 2 no less ) which enabled me to set out my views on Government commissioning . It was headed " charity chief criticise Whitehall barriers " . It is a good piece of journalism and one that enables me to set out the problems members face in the price driven commissioning culture. Acevo has being battling away at Whitehall on the need for contact reform . And we are making progress . Just as we have made with Full Cost recovery . This is just the sort of real bread and butter issues that keep our sector CEOs awake at night . And its for acevo to fight for a better deal .

Small things can often amuse the CEO ; I am delighted that I manage to get a " breaking news " email to all my members on the launch of the Government White Paper on local government at 12.30 , exactly the time Hazel Blears stands up in the Commons to launch her " Communities in Control " document. Hazel rang me yesterday to give me a heads up on the key proposals .Important to get this information out to members . It is what they pay me for . I go to the launch at Cambridge House; a Settlement in Camberwell . I realise when I get there I have been before , a long time past , in my Lambeth days . They have a great CEO , an acevo member obviously !

Phil Hope announces that there will be a " community builders " fund of £70m to develop community anchors. I am really pleased , as the Chair of the Adventure Capital Fund we wanted this and we will now put in a tender to run it . But am under no illusions that the bid we make will have to be top class and it will be tested .In the world of tendering there are no sure wins and no certainties . We will work hard to put proposals to ensure a first class bid and the great thing about tendering is that the competition will hone the best result for the sector . if it is ACF ,that is good . If it is not then someone else who was better will have won . But I was worried they might give this Fund to local authorities or even the BLF so I'm very happy its to be a tender . I email Ed and Phil to thank them for ensuring this result.

On my way to the launch my nephew Julian ( about to do second year at Keble ) emails me from the States . He has been awarded a distinction in his first year exams . So he is now been awarded a Scholarship . And he writes it is such a relief , " it would have been a bit embarrassing to be the only Bubb at Oxford not to have a scholar's gown " ( his 2 uncles and cousin all won scholarships ). Good for Julian .

As a sign of the times I cannot remember when a local government White Paper dealing with local government would have been launched in a community organisation with a title like" communities in control ". I joke with Hazel afterwards that acevo published a major book with the same title which proved very influential in many of the proposals in Labour's manifesto for 2005 . But as she reminds me she had written a Fabian pamphlet of the same title long before acevo ! It is another indication of the growing ebb of the tide for the institutions of the state and the growth of the power of civil society .

As I blog Sparkles sits on my lap , quiet for a few moments . I have discovered she has great taste ( sic) . Whilst i was watching Newsnight yesterday I saw out of the corner of my eye a Duchamp tie making its way across the living room . Yes , it was Sparkles on one end .

I'm busy reading the classic text " The Perfect Puppy " by Gwen Bailey . All very well but couldn't find the chapter dealing with prevention of abuse of Duchamp ties.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I guess magazine editors will tend to concentrate on spelling and old fashioned print values when reviewing blogs. But personally, I think that confuses the more fluid standards and objectives found in social networking with paper - which is a very different medium.

If ThirdSector made a bit more space for social networking, perhaps doing something like Beth Kanters blog

then my copies would spend less time in their cellophane wrappers each month.