Tuesday 29 January 2013


So I was in Leeds on the day they announced the extension of the high speed rail line. Of course I'm sure the time saved on a journey to Leeds in 20 years time will be fabulous but as I shall be 80 I don't suppose I will care how long it takes! And it was windy!

I was up there to meet Alison Haskins, who has had an investment from SIB as part of our health innovation loan fund from the DH. She has been putting together a consortia of third sector bodies in Wakefield and is bidding to run the local health watch as well as being in talks about potential collaboration or merger with the local CVS.

An ACEVO member she demonstrated that essential core value a CEO must have; a driving ambition for our sector and a dynamism and determination to achieve it. Not for her hand wringing about "independence" but a desire to win contracts to deliver more for beneficiaries. ACEVO Solutions has worked with her on building consortia and she has plans to do more. We talked about partnership with the local council in Wakefield and how we can do more together.

So a rather neat introduction to my next meeting which was a dinner between my Chair Lesley-Anne and Joe Irvin, the CEO of NAVCA and his Chair Caroline Schwaller. Joe has just become one of my trustees and we are keen to develop a closer working alliance with NAVCA. ACEVO is doing more and more with local councils and health bodies and we see a natural partnership between local and national bodies in delivery. As public service delivery opportunities grow we also need to encourage collaborative working and so ACEVO and NAVCA are natural allies in promoting joint ambitions for our respective members. It is clear we need more scale to deliver contracts. PBR is here to stay and we have to find sensible ways to share risk and to manage new complex contracts. She, like me, wants to see more Third Sector "primes" and so collaboration schemes offer the potential for many smaller organisations to be part of a supply chain organisation that is rooted in our values and which dops not tie them up in tenders and bids.

And it was fun to catch up with Caroline. She and I knew each other from National Lottery Charity Board days when she was the regional development officer for Yorks+Humberside, based in Leeds. And of course Joe took on my job at the TGWU when I left in 1980. Amazing what a small world it can be in our jolly third sector.

So back to London. A pleasant train journey. I even managed to polish off a mound of work and arrived in our Kings Cross office feeling virtous!

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