Friday, 19 November 2010


Blog 12 /2010                              

This has been a quieter week catching up with the projects which have fallen behind because of other priorities like Pqasso, AGM,  and incorporation.

So I have written a simple guide to the NCVYS Progress training that I have mentioned before – this is the subsidy to trainers to provide the voluntary sector with core training around safeguarding, health and safety, working with young people,etc  and the opportunity of getting trainers trained to be qualified to deliver accredited vocational training – indeed “preparing to teach in the lifelong learning sector" (PtLLS) courses are becoming increasingly evident. My two briefing notes – to employers, and to actual/potential trainers should go out next week.

My colleague, Marie Silvester, is just starting the development of a Common Induction Workbook and course for the voluntary youth sector. This builds on the 7 prescribed standards set by the CWDC but adds in two others – the Common Assessment Framework, and a further module on Working with young people. The workbook will point to how/ where to get the training, and indeed I am hopeful that we can run an accredited common induction course. The underlying point is to ensure that everyone volunteering to work with young people can access a minimum standard of induction.

I went to a well attended Compact workshop in Epsom on Wednesday at which the Chief Executive of Surrey CC said that he was expecting cuts of £255 mill against their budget of £661m over a four year period. He said that a radical rethink was needed – in relation to how the sectors worked together, on the basis of commissioning outcomes (results) not organizations or services.

Surrey Youth Focus and Surrey Youth Consortium have put forward a good few positive suggestions about the radical way forward; it was good to hear today that the Consortium are being cited publicly  by the DCLG as an example of good practice , and so too Surrey Youth Focus I understand. Surrey CC’s Big Society conference on Monday with the Permanent Secretary of DCLG should be interesting!

 Personal Disclosure: More rugby!!   Such bad luck (not) Australia !

Trivial Pursuit:
a)      Last week: Waltzing Matilda: According to Christina Macpherson, ‘Waltzing Matilda’ was created in the sitting room of Dagworth Station in January of 1895 with the help of a young solicitor and poet, ‘Banjo’ Paterson. You don’t need to know more!
b)      This week’s question: What is the population size, capital, and principal export of Samoa (besides rugby players!)

Have fun!

Monday, 15 November 2010


I guess the theme of a busy week is about innovation.

I had a meeting on Monday with Business in the Community about the scope for building closer links between businesses and the voluntary sector. This was very positive indeed, and we will be receiving BITC’s project/volunteer request form so that we can log the needs of member organizations with them. In essence they are saying “tell us what you want and we’ll probably be able to deliver it”.

I have just met with Yvonne Hignell of Halow about her idea of building what we’re calling a “4X4” model of a small group (4) member organisations to have a partnership with like minded organizations in the business sector that can contribute particular business skills to the group of voluntary organisations.

In similar vein, I was at the Surrey Youth Consortium’s awayday yesterday when another visiting speaker from the New Economics Foundation mentioned “Camden Shares” – being a website for the vol sector in Camden enabling spare capacity (meeting rooms, training places, minibuses etc etc) to be logged and utilized by others. I think this is a great idea.

Another great idea is to further develop the borough based job clubs for unemployed people.

My own short report on social impact bonds has now been circulated widely, and is to be discussed with Surrey CC on 2 Dec.

We had our well attended AGM on Wednesday evening, when we marked the retirement of our long standing Treasurer Alan McMichael, and had great presentations from Ed Baker of Surrey Community Action about Social Enterprises, and from Becky Bowden of Surrey SATRO about volunteering. The AGM approved us becoming a company limited by guarantee, whilst remaining a charity. This completes the putting in of our “concrete foundations” (Pqasso and incorporation) and we can now concentrate on external affairs.

David Hypher and I also met with Garath Symonds of Surrey CC to “keep in touch” about the developments in thinking about the youth service re-organisation- the details of which are now going to his Cabinet in early December. But I guess there will be a preview in some way at the Surrey Compact event on 17 Nov (in Epsom) when the County Council’s Chief Executive will be explaining about the impact of cuts, and the commissioners of all main services from the sector (Including Garath) will be available to engage in discussion about the implications for each service area. To book contact

Off to Horsham now to meet with WSCVYS about the Progress training project.

Personal disclosure: England v Australia rugby on Saturday afternoon.

Trivial Pursuit: continuing the rugby  theme…
a)      Last week’s question: The haka is only performed by the All Blacks, but Samoa, Fiji and Tonga all have their own versions.
b)       This week: why is Waltzing Matilda so named?

Have fun!

Friday, 5 November 2010


Blog 10/10                                    
Really interesting week.

I went to the excellent National Council for Voluntary Youth Services AGM in London on Wednesday. Very struck by their close involvement of young people in their operations as an infrastructure body…..

Very  interesting talk at this AGM on “The Big Society and Young People” by Tim Laughton Under-Secretary of State for Children and Families. His themes were that the Coalition is dead serious about the localism, and the community helping itself agenda. He wants to re- value the altruism of volunteering (and knows there’s a cost to it). Big emphasis on social impact bonds, and the Big Society Bank, which  will have a local dimension to it. But the sector needs to consolidate and merge – too many small organizations, needs to be cost –effective. Wants to concentrate on the 99% of young people who are great, not the 1% of young people whose behaviour and circumstances grab the wrong headlines. In particular he wants to: “Challenge the monopoly of local authority youth services”.

A similarly interesting talk by the Chief Executive of New Philanthropy Capital on Preparing for Cuts  and Innovation. His theme was about how outcomes can be measured,  and how he is developing a tool for measuring well- being of young people.

My own paper on Social Impact Bonds is now out (see website) and being circulated widely through Surrey; it crucially depends on a response from the corporate and Public sector. I realize that links to corporates are crucial in future and I am meeting with Business in the Community colleagues next week

Mergers, partnerships, and collaboration are words on everyone’s lips; nationally Clubs for Young People are having merger talks with Catch 22; I have a paper on consolidation in the sector going to my Trustees shortly. 

The NCVYS Progress training is beginning to gain momentum; heavily subsidized training for the voluntary youth sector becoming available shortly.

We have our AGM next week (Tuesday 9 November) when Members will be asked to approve our becoming a company limited by guarantee, and we have speakers on social enterprises and volunteering.

We have to keep innovating and developing partnerships.

Personal disclosure: Want a really good restaurant in London ? View new website at:   (Family connection)

Trivial pursuit:
a)      Last week: After clocks have gone back - Greenwich Mean Time is so named because (Wikipedia) it is a term originally referring to mean solar time at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, London.
b)     This week: As the rugby international season starts this week-end, how many countries perform the Haka at the start of an international match?

Enjoy the rugby!