Thursday 24 July 2008


The Proms are a most wonderful British institution . I was there last night with the Talented Mr Fielding ( headhunter by appointment to the third sector ). And we were sitting in the Box that was always used by Nick Kenyon , until last year the long time Director of the Proms.My old Oxford mate Alec McGivan is now the BBC Director of Communications etc and he has invited a group to partake in high culture. Its a classic Prom ; Brahms and Mendelssohn . The highlight though has to be the Brahms Piano Concerto 2 . There were moments in that recital ( with the incredible pianist Lars Vogt ) when I realised it is beautiful to be alive. Oh , and always networking ;there were no less than 3 third sector CEOs in the Box who had not yet availed themselves of the warmth and comfort of acevo . A strange omission , as I tell them . How can they pay proper attention to their professional development if they are not in the CEO club ? In fact one of them ,Simon Keyes, who runs the St Ethelburga's Centre for Peace and Reconciliation was an acenvo member many moons ago . Membership packs winging their way even as we blog.

I had a phone call from the British High Commission in Pretoria. The South African Government are seriously interested in how third sector organisations in South Africa might expand service delivery. They ask if I would help with a potential visit by the First Lady, Mrs Mbeki to see what we are doing here- nothing fixed but an idea. . I say I am delighted at the chance to showcase the work we do , the work of the Office of the Third Sector , the Compact and Futurebuilders. Increasingly acevo and euclid our European network are being contacted by oversees governments and third sector bodies to talk about our service delivery role. We are the global market leader. It's an area where the UK can take pride in showcasing the value and potential of the Sector. It would be good if they thought it worth coming .

Its a point I make at the first meeting of the Ministry of Justice - third sector task force that acevo has set up with David Hanson , the Justice Minister . We will work over the summer on the core issues that keep the sector back from delivering more focused services in prisons and with Probation . Our view is that we must retain targets and ensure any best value regime operates in a way that allows more services to be delivered through the third sector . acevo is now preparing a report to draw on our experience of other departments and the barriers that stop delivery and how we can develop intelligent commissioning . I like the approach of David Hanson .We had problems in the run up to the establishment of the group but we are both very clear it can offer real potential . I had a phone cal with him before the meeting and we both agreed that we can make progress together . In fact David has worked in the sector as a third sector Chief Executive so he knows the potential that is there. We have to report to him by end September , so tight . But we will do it.

Good news on the European front . Euclid has been awarded a grant from the European Commission to develop the euclid website. When you are developing a European wide network of sector leaders it's essential that we make full use of new technology ; the web development is crucial to that .

And the euro theme brings me back to the Proms. Whilst this is essentially a quintessential British institution it showcases the best in European music . And it has a huge following in Europe. The German's in particular are huge fans , and the Last Night is , improbably , a big hit over there . I remind Alec that I am available for the Last Night should he wish to invite me . He has done for the last 4 years so here's looking to the flag waving and Jerusalem !!

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