Wednesday 14 April 2010

More Tories and Admiralty House ...

Great to watch the news reports of the Cameron Manifesto launch and to see him talking about "unleashing the power of charities and social enterprises". It is certainly true that the role of the sector played a much more central role to the philosophy behind the Tory offer yesterday. I have yet to hear either Nick Clegg or Gordon Brown talking about the role of the sector? Have emailed a "prominent person" to suggest we need to hear GB on the sector!

Hot from reading the Parties' Manifestos I went to Chair what we call "The Admiralty House" commissioning group. It's a tripartite group of public, private and third sector commissioners that ACEVO and PWC have pulled together to debate changes needed to democratise commissioning.

Our first meeting took place in Admiralty House though yesterday we were in somewhat reduced circumstances in a drab Whitehall office.

We were talking about the potential of "Total Place" and the need for this to translate into a debate on delivery partners and, in my view, how the sector should be taking the lead provider role. We agreed to return to this debate once the Election pronounces on a new Government.

We have involved the Community Alliance in the group as we need also to debate and to resolve how we marry the need to ensure community and citizen control and the benefits of scale and reach brought by larger organisations.

It is abundantly clear that whoever wins the Election our sector's role in delivery will expand exponentially. So commissioning policy has to adapt to ensure that role is enhanced and promoted. Scale encouraged, the voice of users drawn into commissioning plans and the ability of community enterprise promoted.

It's always good to look at detail in Manifestos! The Tory promise on the Lottery sounds like good news for the third sector. Some have even trumpeted the proposal without looking at the detail. While you might think it great news that the Big Lottery Fund should fund 100 per cent to the VCS, this policy implies 100 per cent of a 40 per cent allocation rather than a 50 per cent take for BLF from the Lottery as a whole.

Last year 88 per cent of what BLF funded was direct to the Third sector.

All that glistens is not necessarily gold.

As we further analyse and scrutinise the Party proposals I suspect we will uncover more issues. And later today we will have the Manifesto from the Lib Dems. I'll Blog that later!

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