Wednesday 16 July 2008

Queen Elizabeth I at No 10

"He hath put down the mighty from their seat: and hath exalted the humble and meek"

Words from the Magnificat. An admonishment to overweening Chief Executives. I have to remind myself of this at times!

Today was a case in point. The chance to speak in No 10 with an audience of ministers and top civil servants. There was a time when this would have me seriously swatting up and burning the midnight oil. And it is true I was nervous. But now I see these as just fantastic opportunities to spread the message about the power and potential of the third sector. I have always seen that as a core part of my CEO role at acevo. I'm passionate about it and I hope that comes through when I speak. If you have an honest but powerful message and you believe it with determination it will show.

It was the launch of the Public Services Forum joint statement on skills and trade unions. So a plethora of Permanent Secretaries, the Cabinet Secretary, six Ministers, the panjandrums of the Trade Union world and the CBI.

I was speaking for the third sector following on from Government,TUC and CBI. Bizarrely I am speaking under a portrait of Queen Elizabeth I. John Denham MP points out she is the author of the first laws on apprenticeships. Brendan Barber alludes to her and so I point out that she was also the author of the first charity law in 1601 which lasted for nigh on 400 years before the recent reforms. It's a nice lead into my argument that the third sector has always been a vital part of our economic and social life in the UK and we are rediscovering the power of the sector in delivering citizen focused services, forging social cohesion and acting as voice and champion. I say we will continue to grow so we need good ER. And I talk of our report by Nita Clarke on union and sector relations.

My Chair drags me away from the networking for the acevo board - which is a dream of a board. It's not every CEO who can say they have a supportive but questioning board. Good governance we need. The sector does not always have it.

And I end up at Cumberland Lodge, a former Royal residence in Windsor Great Park which is now used as an educational retreat. I'm presenting a paper on whether the private sector is a rival or role model. My answer is yes to both. The only sane answer. I'm not a great believer in drawing broad stereo types of how one sector is so different or so much better than another. I realise we all think we have halos for working in our dearly loved third sector but strange as it might seem there are strongly principled and ethical people in the public and private sectors. And some idiots too. In all it's a good debate and a wide range of speakers. Stuart Etherington this morning and great to catch up on where the sector skills agenda is going over the splendid dinner. Commissioner Cordon is here (I tell him to stop frigging around and make the post statutory - as you do) a couple of FBE investees and one of my favourite civil servants, Pat Samuel of the OTS, who I have business with!

But to end on humility. I present a slide that lists some of the characteristics of a third sector CEO which we drew up in acevo's professional development group. It includes the suggestion that one of these is "personal humility". When I discuss it later with Tom Flood of BTCV (and one of my Board Members) we agree that this might not be a strong attribute of many of our colleague CEOs. Indeed a lashing of chutzpah and cheek is probably a better defining characteristic? Do you agree?

1 comment:

ipblsk said...

Hello Mr Bubb

We are doing a documentary on Benazir Bhutto and would be interested in interviewing you. I called and left a voicemail earlier this evening. Our company is Yellow Pad Productions. Is it possible for you to get back to us at

I am trying to get in touch with you and this seems to be your direct blog so pardon me if this wasn't the most appropriate way.