Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Learning and the Law

It is always depressing to hear politicians slagging off the judiciary. There has been a bout of this recently from various senior cabinet ministers. It’s unedifying. Regrettably we can expect more in the wake of the Eastleigh by-election. I'm not sure I follow the logic of some sections of the Conservative Party who believe salvation lies in appealing to the more extreme elements of their Party activists. One of the more bizarre contributions from one of those MPs was to have a go at equal marriage again. Apparently this upsets the activists. The fact that voters don't have a problem, or that this simply didn't figure as an issue in the campaign had clearly passed him by. Pleasing the activists, not the voters, is what a previous Labour Party did in the 80s and look what a success that was.

Politics is going to become more viscous. More attacks on so called “welfare scroungers" and immigrants. Less compassion for the vulnerable and marginalised. So the outspoken attack on the removal of legal aid from vast swathes of civil law by Lord Neuberger, President of the Supreme Court, was hugely welcome. I find it incomprehensible that at the very time welfare changes will cause more problems and complications for people with disabilities (amongst others) we prevent access to effective redress for abuse. Let's face it, the way ATOS have handled the claims for the new disability living allowance means we need to ensure people can appeal and get legal advice to do so.

There is a duty on our sector to defend the most vulnerable from these attacks. In our recent consultation with members this issue featured strongly in responses.

This will need strong leadership. CEOs who will speak truth to power. As my members will know, we launched our new partnership with the Leadership Trust at our Annual conference last year, when Rob Noble (ACEVO member and LT CEO) announced the first 5 ACEVO Fellowships.

Our arrangement with them includes a whopping 55% discount for ACEVO members for all their leadership programmes, already taken up by many CEOs. We are also now hearing from CEOs who are keen to build the leadership capacity in their teams, both through providing ACEVO Associate membership and providing them with places on these courses. This is important for our sector, we must be aware of our future leaders, talent spot and invest in them where we can - and learning with others, and cross sector too is a strong learning experience as we build our organisations and their resilience and ambition.

If you are interested then please contact my colleague Jenny Berry, our Director of Leadership Development at  

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