Friday 12 March 2010

Is Victory in our grasp?

Another day in Malborough House and an interesting discussion on the future of the Commonwealth. At the last Heads of Government Meeting it was agreed to look at potential reforms and a so called "Eminent Persons" group is being established to look at this. We discussed how civil society organisations play into these reform discussions. The Royal Commonwealth Society have published the results of a major survey on what people think of the institution. It shows the time is ripe for radical change.

It looks like the Burnham third sector second policy is unravelling. Our behind the scenes lobbying, and our up front, in your face, aggressive use of the Competition Panel is paying off.

The Health Service Journal reports that a recent Cabinet Meeting had exposed Burnham to criticism from colleagues. The Cabinet agreed Mr Burnham would have to get detailed involvement and sign-off for his new procurement guidance from other Ministers, including those at the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills and the Office of Government Commerce as well as the Treasury. ACEVO has been lobbying for this as well as being involved in detailed discussions on this guidance.

HSJ went on to report,

"Another indication of unease with Mr Burnham's position is Prime Minister Gordon Brown's letter to ACEVO in January - seen by HSJ - which directs ACEVO to Mr Brown's senior policy adviser on health Greg Beales, not Mr Burnham."

The letter says: "I have asked Greg Beales [to] ensure you are fully involved in the development of these detailed proposals."

The revised procurement guidance is now expected next week. Mr Michell said many Ministers involved in its drafting had told ACEVO they were "minded to not let it go with any reference to preferred provider".

He said the latest draft seen by ACEVO had included only scant reference, but said unions were pushing for these to be increased."

Credit where it is due; I give all the credit to this developing victory to the magnificent duo of Michell and Kyle. Their expert maneuvering of Government Ministers and officials, as well as the use of media and superb handling tactics are an object lesson in effective lobbying. It was their prompt action in exposing the policy u-turn that ensured this policy was heading for the knackers yard. Our last meeting with health members was highly appreciative of their work. It proves the value of ACEVO's work on behalf of all its members. If the third sector had the equivalent of the Order of the British Empire, Kyle and Michell would be knighted!

Let that be a warning to all that wish to diss with our sector: ACEVO is ready for the fight!

And now to professional development; one of the new ACEVO Professional Development offerings will be free online CEO Tool Kits for our members. These "Tool Kits" will provide ‘just in time’ and ‘bite sized learning.' As needs arise, members can log on and access tips, techniques, strategies, models, checklists and a list of further resources on various topics for managing their organisation successfully. The tool kits will help keep members up to date with current thinking and resources in leadership/management topics. Our first topic has already been written by James Barrett on Proactively Managing the CEO and Chair Relationship in times of Crisis.

So if you are an ACEVO member reading this have a look at the first one

If you are not privileged to be an ACEVO member yet and you are a CEO you better join.

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