Sunday, 22 May 2011

You can't run the country like a bring-and-buy sale

I like a bring-and-buy sale as much as the next bargain hunter, but it's no way to run a country. I emailed Sir Stephen Bubb, CEO at ACEVO to that effect this morning as he was about to go on the Murnaghan Show on Sky
and it seems he agrees with me because he repeated the sentiment. I have been struck lately at how strongly central and local government believe that when it comes to social enterprise or the rest of civil society for that matter, you can get something for nothing.

I am told the work we are doing is fantastic, that in supporting enterprise, wealth creation in deprived areas, jobs for the young unemployed, dynamic public service solutions and environmental innovations we are ticking all the boxes. Social enterprise is certainly one of the few business-based approaches that the UK is exporting successfully to the rest of the world and where we are recognised as market leaders. But... errr... humm... could we do all that with a whip-round and a few volunteers? Err, no, we can't.

Innovation requires investment, leadership requires prioritisation. While we wait for the Big Society Bank, like a BBQ summer or that bit of original Ozzy Clark in the pile of M&S seconds, brilliant, life-changing initiatives are going to the wall. It really is too frustrating.

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