Friday 14 October 2011

Now that was a week!

The week began with my Director's group and me at an intensive awayday looking at our strategy for next year and how to focus our work as a Chief Executives body. Next year we will celebrate 25 years of CEO leadership. But let's not doubt CEOs next year face huge financial challenges. Acevo, as their membership body has to be there supporting and advising, developing, representing and challenging.

And we are planning our silver jubilee events that both celebrate 25 years but look forward to the challenges ahead for a third sector CEO. During January to March myself and my Chair Lesley-Anne will be meeting with our members across the UK to discuss how we together tackle the task of leadership at a time of major damage to society and communities.

We were also preparing our proposals for a full Acevo Board awayday later in November. I am lucky to have a superbly talented top team. A delight to work with them. And fun too. Never a dull debate for us!

And yesterday a great lunch with Sir Bob Kerslake, the Permanent Secretary DCLG, so of key interest for us in our members work in local councils. It was one of our Acevo "Learning with Leaders" lunches where we draw together 25 of our members to discuss issues of the day over lunch (kindly provided yesterday by CCLA, The top charity financial advisor and investor).

A great discussion about the cuts the sector and local government face. I made the point that members are telling me Cuts by councils next year will be even more difficult and lead to even more damage to the vital services we provide in communities.

Then off to a meeting in No 10 on Open Public Services. I'm worried that this agenda is going awry and there is less push and dynamism from government on it. If we face continuing cuts we need a Government that pushes innovation and reform in service delivery. A Government that is saying to local councils; use the sector more. Change the way you work with communities by using third sector bodies to deliver, to act as champions and advocates. Entrench rights for citizens to challenge. extend rights to choice and redress. And look at Acevo's proposal for a "Right to voice".

Elderly people in hospital beds can't make their voice heard. So we need to give organisations representing older people the power to challenge on their behalf.

I have spent a decade arguing the case for third sector service delivery. With Blair. With Brown. Now with Cameron. I think Cameron gets the point that reform is about extending rights and empowering citizens and communities. But many Departments don't. And they are getting signals it doesn't matter and vested interests will win. Depressing. I felt like saying put me in charge of reform and I'd put a rocket under them. I am planning my rocket attack in any case!

But not depressed for long as I was off to dinner with The Zurich International Advisory committee annual dinner on which Tony Blair sits!

During the course of the meal I get one of those phone calls which mean immediate action re preparation for the press. You will see what that was about shortly!

And now its in the office for meetings with staff and then home; I'm off on leave. Every good boy deserves an occasional treat. But, fear not, I shall continue blogging and next week will reveal where I am on holiday, my trusty blackberry is coming with me!

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