Friday, 20 April 2012

Core Issues

Hi everyone – back from Easter break this week. Our figures show 3,000 blog visits last year (2011/12). I know that’s not quite Stephen Fry, or Barack Obama but hey – who knows?!! I have to hit a new target for this year – so pass the BLOG news on to others please!

The theme of the week has definitely been about commissioning and contracting. I am in London this afternoon speaking at a Children England leadership course for local authority managers about the VCFS perspective on commissioning. Last night I was away from Surrey at a focus group discussion led by Capita with about 10 voluntary sector directors/CEOs about commissioning. My colleagues were an impressive bunch with many running social enterprises. The core issues were: difficulty in measuring outcomes in social policy, and the difficulty of matching a commissioning/contracting policy with the Localism/ Big Society agenda. Open competitive tendering takes you to large scale,  whilst localism is about valuing local community organisations.

However on Wednesday, I also met with one of Surrey County Council’s new sub- contractors for the youth engagement work – Rolling Sound - based in London, and with very impressive, innovative approaches to engaging with NEET young people, so one can see benefits to commissioning in terms of raising the performance bar.

The social enterprise we have been working on for a while to provide jobs to unemployed young people is now happening, and I have to find offices, write job descriptions and move things on. I met with Guildford College this week about how we might work together to secure training for these young people, possibly through apprenticeships. We have also discussed their involvement with our forthcoming “Surrey Youth Enterprises” work – being a website giving information, advice to young people on self–employment and social enterprise and running “how to” workshops off it on a chargeable basis, and so it could also become a social enterprise.

All these developments are in our new Business Plan fro 2012/13 which will  be discussed at next week’s Trustees meeting and on Monday we were visited by a new independent (as opposed to Member) Trustee – Martin Gerrard DL who has a strong strategic and operational  background as a Commissioner in the Met Police, and outstanding work with the Scouts in Epsom. He will bring considerable skills to the Board.

 So – a good week, especially as my university tutor liked my rough draft of my MA Theology dissertation (on pastoral care since you ask) ..will finish at the end of May.

Up in London with all the family on Sunday to support middle son running in the London Marathon.

Have fun!


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