Friday, 19 November 2010

Commonwealth Big Society,Bills and colds..

So I end my BigSooc week by talking to a consultative session of commonwealth associations about whether this idea has traction across other countries. I have been a member of the Commonwealth's Civil Society advisory committee for some years , extolling the virtues of a bigger sector. I said hay our role is two fold. To expand our delivery of citizen focused services and to promote a healthy democracy. A strong civil society makes for a strong dmwocracy. As one of my colleagues from our umbrella sector says in his strap
Ine, " dissent improves democracy".

As I make my weary way home to nurse my incipient cholera, I hear that the private members bill sponsored by Tory MP Chris White got through it's first stage. The " Public Services ( social enterprise and social value ) Bill. The key part is to put a duty on public sector commissioners to take into account added social and environmental value when assessing tenders. Acevo and all the key umbrellas have been backing this. But of course it goes nowhere without Government support. Putting social value at the heart of government commissioning as the bill proposes would revolutionise the way public money is spent in this country. It would enable all third sector organisations to do more, commissioners to get better value, and people across the country to benefit from better services.

So the task is to lobby Ministers for their support. Acevo has already started. This will not be easy. When officials realize the implications they will fight it. However Nick Hurd did indicate at the great 3SC reception in the Commons on Wednesday that they will consider supporting this as it runs along Big Society lines.It was great to see Harriet Baldwin MP and my Vice Chair on the Social Investment Business eaking in support of the Bill and showing how SIB has been able to grow organisations to take advantage of public service reck through loans.

I'm lookin forward to a quiet weekend and getting over my grumpiness and illness. Have been causing havoc with my cold ( or cholera). I wasn't able to make the meeting of the DCLG third sector advisory group and they were most put out as they had provided biscuits just for me. And my Deputy, the wondrous Dr Kyle who went in my place found himself speaking to a paper I had asked for and on which he was somewhat less than well briefed by his hopeless Boss. I was then admonished by my brilliant Director of Strategy for off the cuff remarks that appear to have got into some media column ( don't know how that happened ).

But next week is another country. And I have had 2 brilliant ideas......

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