Friday, 15 July 2011

Old Models

I went last night to the packed celebration evening at Denbies vineyard for the The Studio – ADHD centre. What was interesting was the view of a psychiatric consultant, and a research psychiatrist at Kings College London that the cause of ADHD is an imbalanced brain at birth, which is slowly changed through maturation during childhood and youth. However, during this process of maturation the young people have “Ferrrari brains”  (top speed, maybe fragile) that is the cause of the high energy, often unsocial and inattentive behaviour. The stories of the achievements of the young people in being coached by Nancy Williams through this phase of their lives were great. We also heard the “other side of the story” from two long suffering but supportive parents of ADHD kids that were particularly moving. Interesting to note that the forthcoming Government Youth policy will include a section on brain development. Well done Nancy !

I led a business planning session on a consultancy basis yesterday morning; one organisation faces the ending of Surrey CC grant and the loss of its youth worker, as indeed we do unless I find replacement income for our youth development worker. The challenges are really severe. I was also at a Trustee Board meeting of a fairly large voluntary sector organisation where we were addressing the issue of how to change it, or close it,  in the face of loss of grant income. “No change” was NOT an option, and we opted for a strategy of significant reorganization that will regrettably involve a loss of staff, and a complete re-engineering of the organisation.

Similarly, but separately, I was again asked about the Surrey CC Youth Service reorganisation on BBC Surrey Radio. This arose because of the prospect of a number of youth workers apparently being likely to lose their jobs. My perspective is simply that there are opportunities for the voluntary sector…

We now all work in what I call a chaotic environment (cuts, redundancies, reorganizations, mergers) where potentially old models of service delivery could be transformed by closer collaborative working between the statutory, voluntary and corporate/social philanthropic sectors. This requires leadership and a style of collaborative working that many organizations will find difficult…I was pleased to attend the first meeting of voluntary sector Chairs in Surrey , brought together by my Chairman and the Chairman of Surrey Community Action. My role was simply to take the notes. It was encouraging that the meeting took place.

It has been a busy week with two evening meetings (and a third church meeting at home), but a kind person with whom it is a joy to work has sent me some holiday reading – a book by Andrew Mawson called “The Social Entrepreneur”…and therein lies the clue for the future,  in the week that the Government’s White paper on “Open Public Services” was published.

Have a thoughtful,  and apparently very wet weekend - (Guilfest, British Open Polo finals at Cowdray Park )


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