Poor old Paris Brown. My heart went out to her at the beginning of April as the attack dogs of the Daily Mail were unleashed. She was defended admirably (and properly) by her employer, Kent’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Ann Barnes, but the moment her adolescent tweets hit the newsstands and the associated furore was on the airwaves, one had to assume she was toast. Read More
It’s been a while since I last wrote.
In late November, my father-in-law died. I hope it’s not indulgent to mention it but I have decided to because throughout his illness and treatment, my partner’s family received extraordinary support, help and kindness from MacMillan nurses and the local hospice.
It was the best of the voluntary sector on display; on the one hand a large organisation able to support and advise because of high-profile national fundraising, on the other a local service, supported by individuals and groups in the area, at the end of the phone on a difficult, terrible night. Read More
Last week’s Third Sector poll was instructive. When I voted, over 94 per cent had clicked ‘Yes’ in response to the question: “Have public sector contracts inhibited charities from speaking out?”
This was always the danger of an increase in the numbers of charities delivering government contracts or receiving direct funding to support government objectives in a particular area of policy. Plenty of us have written about it, plenty of times. It can lead to outright silence on an issue, but more commonly it is a watering down of language so as not to offend the paymasters. And it is not only the big boys who are subject to it - small charities delivering local services are probably most at risk; a contract with a local authority service can be a lifeline to a tiny, specialist charity that struggles to raise funding elsewhere. Read More
You know that feeling when you read something and it makes your heart soar and slouch at the same time? Well, I do and I’m not afraid to admit to some complex, rather mixed and possibly entirely contradictory feelings.
Barnardo’s, that consistent defender of disadvantaged and vulnerable children and young people, has partnered up with “chicken-based quick service” restaurant giant KFC, once but no longer known as Kentucky Fried Chicken. They have been piloting a programme of training and work placements in the North West for Barnardo’s service users, it’s gone very well, so now the national roll-out is announced.
It should not surprise anyone to find Serco building a partnership with a number of children’s and young people’s charities in order to deliver the expansion of the National Citizen Service. Even those larger charities involved, big as they are, could not deliver that level of ‘scaling up’ across so many regions without the support of Serco’s expansive infrastructure.
For Serco, of course, this kind of project is an obvious move: a secure government contract with a veneer of corporate social responsibility through partnering with the third sector. Read More
The failure of G4S to fulfil its contract is occupying most of the headlines as we bowl headlong towards the Olympic opening ceremony. Within the story are tales of inadequate training and inappropriate working conditions. Watching the television news, potential candidates for roles with G4S look very young. Strikingly so.
These are temporary positions in security at the Olympics, recruited at the last minute in order to save money. Most of the people applying for these roles can only expect to get four weeks work from them, then they’ll be back to signing on. Read More
I’m glad we’re starting to see a bit of discussion about the value of charitable status and the different roles and purposes of the multitude of non-profit organisations and companies that are springing up.
I’ve been worried for a long time that the sector’s charities have been drifting too far from their campaigning and fundraising roots and into service delivery. What started out in the sector as an interesting stroll down a path towards the creation of diverse public service partners has opened up into a gigantic free-for-all. Predictably, the sector is now populated with social enterprises, social businesses, community interest companies and others, all willing to be in receipt of the state’s dollar to deliver our public services. And they are all competing with the charities that paved the way through the Compact. Read More
Close to a million young people aged between 16 and 24 now find themselves saddled with that ghastly moniker Neet (not in employment, education or training).
A toxic combination of factors, not least our nose-diving economy, the removal of the Education Maintenance Allowance and the tripling of tuition fees in higher education, is making it near-impossible to get an economic foothold. Add to this the government’s war on vocational learning and many young people must be wondering what’s out there for them. Read More