Tuesday 16 November 2010

Developing Cholera and wowing MPS

I have managed to arrive back from India with an 'orrible cold. Though, as I explained to the Chair and Chief Executive of the Charity Commission over lunch today, this could well be cholera, malaria or something worse (a cold seems so prosaic!).

My Chair and I were meeting with Suzi and Sam to chew the cud in advance of the strategic review they are instituting to look at the role of the Commission in the light of significant budget cuts. In fact, the cud chewing took place at the extremely splendid social enterprise restaurant "Acornhouse" on Swinton Street. A great restaurant and they have just introduced their new menu, which I can thoroughly recommend. The seared scallops with artichokes and the beetroot risotto were terrific. I recommend it. Click here.

I am impressed with how Sam has started as Chief Executive and I think both he and Suzi make a formidable leadership duo. We need their sagacity and nous in the coming months.

Board appraisals are very important. I am depressed about how few Boards in our sector undertake appraisals. Yesterday, as Chair of the Social Investment Business, myself and my Chief Executive met to hear the results of a recent Board appraisal for SIB. A fascinating exercise; confirming trends that we have known about and throwing up some some surprises.

And it's always good to get feedback. The appraisal process involves the appraisal both of myself as Chair, and of Jonathan, as Chief Executive. I was complimented on my strategic and networking skills and rapped over the knuckles for failing to spend sufficient time on things that I find slightly less interesting. (You can guess what they are, can't you?) I have resolved to do better.

And then Jonathan and I went off to 'wine and dine' a number of Conservative MPs and talk to them about the work of the Social Investment Business. Nicky Morgan MP (Loughborough) and Richard Fuller MP (Bedford) are both of the new intake and have great experience and insight to bring. We had a lively discussion about the role social investment can play and the importance of capitalising the sector to play a bigger role in implementing "Big Society" ideas. I do have to say I was particularly impressed with Nicky Morgan, who has been awarded the "Bubb rising star to watch" award. This is a coveted prize as of course I was one of the early forecasters of the rising star of one Ed Mililband.

And just to show political balance I had a meeting this morning with John Healey MP, who is the Shadow Health Spokesperson. John is a great guy and no doubt well trained from the time he spent working in the third sector. I stressed the importance of a vastly expanding delivery role for third sector organisations, for example long-term conditions, end of life care and, of course, in social care and personalisation. I also took the opportunity to hammer further nails in the coffin of the "preferred provider" policy and made clear that the current Government's "any willing provider" policy has to be the right approach and one that the third sector supports strongly.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Did the Charity Commission pay? I thought they were meant to be cutting their costs post-CSR ...