Sunday 3 January 2010

Back to the coal face

So a new year and new decade starts , and at ACEVO tomorrow.we will need to redouble our efforts for our members in challenging times.

I am going to resist the usual predictions ; the papers are full of them but an interesting discussion with the charming and erudite Chief Executive of London Recycling , Matthew Thompson , as we strolled round Brockwell park ; he with his young kid and me with the hound , made me think about putting down some markers for 2010 and the work of ACEVO with its members .

Whatever view one takes of the chances of recovery in 2010 , we know that the tail effect of recession in continuing unemployment and falling living standards will pose continuing strain on members and their organisations . Demand continues to rise for support and help from our clients and from communities.

Rising costs ( VAT and national insurance for example) will go hand in hand with rising demand. More will be expected of us in delivering services and less will be provided Io support that role.

So the leaders of third sector organisations will need support and advice , help and assistance in tbheir leadership role . So for 2010 ACEVO will be redoubling efortsd to provide individual support to each of our members that need that support . We are reviewing our professional development offering to ensure it provides the type of leadership support needed in challenging and difficult times. We have already seen that in 2009 we had a doubling of demand for our legal and crisis support services . So we will ensure that these one-to-one services are tailored and available to all our CEOs facing difficult times.

I guess it is a truism that the Chief Executive role is a lonely one , but only those who have actually had that role know exactly what that can mean when you are faced with making cuts , sacking staff or confronting trustees with the reality of impending deficits . At those times a CEO needs the support of their professional association so i want to ensure ACEVO has that blend of personal advice and support and professional development ready for that task.

In a time of challenge communications are important ; is our sector good at grasping the opportunities of new technologies ? This is another area where I want ACEVO to be ahead of the curve. We have been reviewing our technology , recently updating a somewhat tired website. but we need to do more .

Then finally our advocacy role will be at a premium in an election year . ACEVO has had a brilliant year ,often leading the debate and ensuring our sector voice is heard nationally. But that task will be more difficult when every lobbyist in the land will want their views and demands reflected in party manifestos. the Third Sector and its role in delivering change and uniting communities is as important as ever . Marginalised communities and excluded citizens need the strength or our campaigning for them . Our task , with our friends and supporters across the sector , is to ensure we have a prominent role in what will clearly be a pivotal election .

I'm looking forward to getting stuck in!

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