Friday, 22 October 2010

Paradigm Shift

Clearly the week has been dominated by the results of the CSR on 20 Oct. and the news of a 28% cut in local government expenditure. This together with all the other elements - students fees, change in homeless benefits for young people, will impact severely on young people.  But there are opportunities.

There are two interesting Cabinet Office reports just published : one is about the role of the sector in building the Big Society - “Building a Stronger Civil Society” -and the other is the place of infrastructure organizations “Supporting a Stronger Civil Society” ( both on our website). The latter encourages mergers and collaboration between infrastructure organizations. There is £470 m to support the sector, of which £100m is for modernization. Interesting key speaker at the RAISE AGM from the Office of the Civil Society – she spoke of the “paradigm shift “ in central government thinking towards localism and community. There is no doubt that the Coalition Government are serious about devolution to the sector and communities.

My question is whether local government will be a conduit to the success of the Big Society, or a block to it. I note that Suffolk and now Kent County Council have decided strategically to outsource/devolve all services, so that they become just an enabling /commissioning body. Interesting. 

Trustees meeting on Thursday approved our much more informative Annual Report and Accounts, and, very importantly, that we should recommend our AGM on 9 Nov that we become a company as well as a charity, to limit the personal risk to trustees/directors. 

I visited the Park Barn (Guildford) Youth Club on Monday where Hannah Tugwell is doing great work with 50 young people attending every session, but she needs more help, which is what we were discussing. 

I have written a draft paper on Social Impact Bonds which are likely to be a really important step forward in securing funding from corporates as the funding contribution of the public sector shrinks. 

Personal disclosure: A MA Theology working week-end in prospect as I have to give a paper on The Spanish Mystics on Monday evening – anyone know about them?

Trivial pursuit:
a)Last week; The folk rock singer who fell down stairs to her untimely death was Sandy Denny of Fairport Convention
b) This week: How many people’s average individual earnings are equalled by Wayne Rooney’s average weekly earnings in his new contract?”

Have fun!

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