Thursday 25 April 2013

Sitting with Churchill...

So to speak; although what I mean is that I'm blogging from the Churchill Room in HMT. It’s the room where Churchill stood on the balcony to address the crowds at the end of the War. 

It’s a “Working Chance" breakfast. A brilliant charity that is dedicated to finding jobs for women ex-prisoners. Led dynamically by ACEVO member, Jocelyn Hillman, it has a daunting track record of getting ex offenders into jobs and into a new life, when the national record for reoffending is so crap. 

If you are a charity CEO why not think about whether you might be able to find a work placement or job for a woman ex offender then contact them -

Richard Branson said of them, “I use working chance because its a great recruitment agency and they give me what I need”! Not a bad recommendation I guess. 

Last night was fun! I was speaking at the farewell party in the RSA for Derek Twine. He has been the superb CEO of the Scouts since 1996. So I have known Derek as a friend and colleague ever since I took over at ACEVO. It was a great gathering of sector folk and hangers on. Doing my research for my speech I discovered it’s Derek Milton Twine. So good old Google gave me some great quotes, though regrettably John Milton is not really into humour or quips!

It was a great end of a day which had started with me giving a keynote speech at a Westminster Health Forum on the role of Health Watch - the new NHS body that will represent “patients". I was fairly forthright on what I saw as their challenges and the huge potential they have. They could spend a lot of time nagging away at councils or worrying about who sits on their committees or whether they should be elected. Tesco is deeply interested in their customers. They spend massive time and energy on surveying and asking consumers what they want. They don't set up a committee to do this! I also suggested we need to concentrate on what the public want. What citizens want from a health and social care system. Most of us are not “patients". We don’t want to be either. But we use the NHS. We need care services for us or friends and relatives. And health watch needs to champion choice, not the public sector providers. This is an area that has been bedeviled by self appointed patient spokespersons and failed or aspirant politicians and people who think it’s an opportunity to start the revolution. There are also some great people and professional staff who can make a difference. Health Watch England have a great CEO and Chair. It’s a new body and I wish them well.

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