Wednesday, 20 August 2008

On a Harbour Wall

I must have made a strange sight! Sitting on the Harbour wall, mobile glued to ear as the kids played around me. The mobile signal is so bad I keep having to get down to the harbour or up on the cliffs to keep in touch with the fast developing story of The Shaw Trust.

A lengthy solicitor's letter from them has arrived. I can only get the gist of the five pages of allegations about the acevo press release and comments in my blog but it is clear they are unhappy. But fire will be fought with fire and our solicitors are onto the case. We shall be responding when I have the chance to review this in full when I am back.

But if this was an attempt to frighten acevo off from pursuing this matter, or from defending the reputation and integrity of one of our chief executive members, you can be sure it will fail. I can't say I welcomed this letter - it's always a bit unsettling when you are threatened with legal action. But did I do the right thing in springing into action to defend a member? I am sure I did and I'm sure the sector would have wanted acevo to be decisive. So the blog continues - though I pause somewhat over the keyboard as I think of those solicitors in Liverpool pouring over my latest offering.

Clearly we will pursue this and I am pleased that the wider third sector can now take a view on the recent events. Third Sector magazine has been published today and there is lengthy coverage of this case. It makes for fascinating reading and you will see why acevo has been so trenchant in its actions and why we are demanding Ian Charlesworth's reinstatement.

I have already congratulated Stephen Cook, the Editor, for taking this up in the interested of better governance in the sector. John Plummer, the journalist who has covered this has done a thorough job, but there is yet more to come.

It is of course the staff and the clients of the Trust who suffer. It must be a demoralising place to work at the moment so I hope the Charity Commission can do their work quickly. Obviously acevo will continue to press for Ian to be brought back and to start the healing process. The Shaw Trust is a great organisation that has had huge success under Ian's determined leadership and we must all hope he will be back soon.

I speak to Ian from my little nook on the wall. I assure him of our continued support and the solidarity of many of the acevo members who have been passing on messages of support. He sounds down and it's important to remember the human cost of what has been happening. But Ian is a fighter and wants to try and retrieve the situation for the staff he has been leading.

and the blog continues!

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