Tuesday 9 November 2010

Back home! Lambeth Launch.

A flight at 4.00am is very anti social! But a pleasant last day in Madras; paying respects at the Shrine of St Thomas the Apostle, visiting the Cathedral of St George (His Grace, Rowan Williams was there only two weeks ago; well done to you on your comments on housing!). And the museum.

The museum might well qualify as one of the world's worst. Pity the guide book didn't suggest taking a torch! I'm sure the Indian miniatures are a delight, and the oil paintings of former Governors may well glow, but it was hard to see a thing. The title of the place "Government Museum" says it all. The only well kept bit of the museum was, surprise, surprise, the Superintendent's House!

It was a hot day following on from cyclone Jal which visited us in the night. Goodness it was wet and windy...

Good to get back to Lambeth, though not the weather! I'm very fond of this marvellous London Borough; having lived here since 1978 and been involved in many local and borough wide organisations; not to mention being a Clapham Councillor, member of the local health authority, Chair of Governors of the largest secondary school amongst other things!

I got back in time for the launch of the Lambeth Council - ACEVO Commission.

UK’s first so- called "Cooperative Council" has set out a new, and I suspect, innovative approach to partnership working between Local Authorities and the third sector.

"The Lambeth Commission on personalisation" to give it its full glorious title, today launches its final report focusing on how the third sector can ‘Survive and Thrive’ through radical reforms in public service delivery and deep public spending cuts. In particular, the report addresses how third sector organisations in Lambeth can adapt to the Government’s drive to devolve power to service users through the personalisation of public services.

The Commission brought together senior Council officials and third sector leaders to explore ways of ensuring moves towards personalised public services.

One of the aims of the Commission was to identify and make significant progress towards filling the gap in terms of the support local third sector organisations need from the Council to be able to adapt to the major changes ahead in commissioning.

The marvellous Jeremy Swain, CEO of Thames Reach,(around as CEO as long as I have!) Chaired the Commission. It's worth repeating what he said,

Personalisation is going to pose many challenges for third sector organisations, not least in the context of recession and public spending cuts. Lambeth have made a great start in putting the practical underpinnings and support in place needed to make it work at a local level. I’m confident that through a co-operative partnership, the third sector can offer fantastic services that empower the community and our service users in Lambeth in new and innovative ways.”

The Lambeth Commission Report is being launched tonight alongside ACEVO’s National Commission on Personalisation’s final report at Coin Street Community Centre in Lambeth. A fitting spot! I was involved in the campaign to ensure that the GLC's wicked plans to cover this part of Waterloo with nasty office blocks was defeated. A great local campaign that drew together community organisations and activists and politicians saw this off and now this part of the South Bank in London has social housing and social enterprises as well as the lovely Coin Street Centre, (beloved of politicians who like launching things in community organisations that are not too far to get too). It was a great example of community organisation to thwart idiocies by local authorities. Somehow I doubt it would have earned us volunteering nectar points?

I will be going, bleary eyed no doubt as I stagger from my jet lag 11 hour overnight flight. I can hear your sympathetic sighs!

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