Monday, 21 June 2010

Sophie's choice or social reformation?

I have a piece in Guardian Public today on asking people what they think about the cuts within the context of using social impact assessment. I know that sounds deathly dull but what I am trying to say is not. If you count more than the financial cost of a service, and instead focus on moneterised social impact, you can prioritise with minimal long-term regret. At the very least you can make the process transparent and one which people can consult on. Without social impact assessment you may cut a service because it looks expensive now, only to find out later that not providing that service has caused a far greater drain on the public purse. Cause and effect, 20/80, the six ‘p’s’.........

Tell me what you think

Another mad weekend, in so many ways.... On Saturday, whilst womaning the book stall at our local primary school I bumped into Zac Goldsmith, see picture below with fellow school mum. Zac was doing his star turn at the Sheen Mount Primary School Fair, much to the delight of the Mum’s. He and I had a quick catch up on an event we are putting on together, next month, to launch a social enterprise hub in Richmond. Strangely enough Richmond has become quite a hotbed of innovative social enterprise activity, to the extent critical mass has been reached. Watch this space.

After the fair, and with my 2 carrier bags of summer reading, I headed home to get back into the garden. My big job this weekend was to dig out the Phyllostachys Nigra (black bamboo) out of my herbaceous border. It was less gardening and more your navying. The shrub had really taken hold, to the extent that by the time I had finished I had enough plants, some of them standing at 20 feet, to fill 2, one metre planters. In the spaces left in the border I had the joy of planting out my homage to the Eden Project, ‘Places for Change garden at Chelsea Flower Show’ 2010 designed by Paul Stone. This garden was put together by 6 groups of homeless people from centres around the UK. It emphasised veg growing, recycling and the more traditional approaches to English gardening using heart warming planting which brought in the usual chic purples, mauves and blues with fiery oranges and yellows, perfect. To achieve this I planted in my newly peat free composted beds, perennial geraniums, Oxalis and Icelandic poppies. I asked one of the exhibitors of the garden about a particularly ice catching Geranuium which turned out to be Sanguineum which I now have 15 dotted around my garden. I finished at 10pm so had to wait for the sun to come up to admire my handy work.

Unfortunately a combination of old, baggy gardening jeans and late night gardening meant I fell foul of mosquitoes. Which in turn leads me to an explanation of this morning’s tweet concerning my bottom (thank you to those who have made enquires). We were at my Mother’s yesterday afternoon where, whilst showing her my fine array of bites, as you do, a wasp flew in through her kitchen window, and unhindered by her, stung me on the arse. On the way home something flew up my trouser leg and bit me on the calf. I am, frankly, feeling got at.

Tomorrow we have our breakfast meeting (08:30 – 10:00) on governance and risk with Price Waterhouse Coopers at 1 Embankment Place, London, WC2N 6RH, which is fully booked but I’m sure we can find room for a few last minute social entrepreneurs if you call the SEL offices (020 7022 1920). My day will conclude at the Acevo New MP’s reception in Westminster, where I have been asked to follow our new Minister, Nick Hurd’s address, with some thoughts about the future opportunities and challenges for the sector as I see them. Any top tips or thoughts on that, as always, will be very gratefully received.

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