Thursday 7 January 2010

Discourteous Chancellors and Burnham (again)

Another example of the Burnham folly of "prefered supplier" comes to light. The Guardian report today that an abstinence based alcohol treatment course has had to be shut down because the Notts PCT have not renewed funding in the light of the Burnham policy.

I'm glad to say the organisation (UK Advocates) is not taking this lightly and will be taking judicial review. Good for them.

We are now getting news from members that PCTs are ready jumping the gun to implement the Burnham public sector first policy and not use third sector providers. We have letters now to this effect. We will be using this as evidence to get the policy challenged and changed.

What I find inexplicable is that the PM says he wants to take public sector reform wider and deeper but in the NHS its been taken backwards.

I have a meeting with Liam Byrne MP on Monday. A great Minister and a strong reformer. I want to explore this further, as well as talking about how we achieve banking reform and a Social Investment Bank.

And I will be raising the strange case of the discourtesy of the Chancellor.

On December 1st myself and 260 Third Sector CEOs wrote to the Chancellor, Alistair Darling, to suggest that the third sector could play a major role in helping reform public finances by offering more cost effective and customer focused services. We proposed a summit to bring together CEOs and key ministers and civil servants ot discuss how we could do this.

Now given the state of the public finances you might think an offer to help reduce public spending would be grabbed with both arms? You might think that when key leaders of the third sector write on a matter of national importance it would be taken seriously?

But no. It is not. We have heard nothing. Not a peep. Not even the courtesy of an acknowledgement, let alone a reply. And when my Office chase it up with HMT we are told it is going to be passed onto Stephen Timms MP as, presumably, it is to unimportant for the Chancellor and Stephen looks after charity things. So discourtesy is compounded with being patronised.

I wonder how many private sector CEOs it would take for Alistair to respond to them personally ?5? 20? 260?

We are often concerned in the sector that we hear more rhetoric on the importance of what we do than the actual reality of involvement. This is but a sad example of the gap. So Alistair, if this does not interest you, I know people who are...

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