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On the Horizon: Social Enterprises, by Mandy Varley

I recently had the opportunity to attend a Q&A Tea Time Social with ClearlySo, an organisation that answers the practical needs of social businesses and enterprises. According to NCVO, social enterprises are organisations that trade with a social purpose. So essentially they are for-profit businesses with social aims. Before attending the event I’d assumed this was a relatively new concept but it turns out famous examples like The Co-operative and even Barcelona Football Club have been in operation for a good while already.

And our survey says... top tips to get richer data by Adam Pickering

I have spent more time on council websites than I care to think about. So impenetrable are these websites that I usually end up finding what I want via a Google search. So when a pop-up box appears asking me if I have a few minutes spare to fill in an online survey about their website I ought to click ‘yes’ and tell them what I think … minus the profanities. To my discredit I don’t, but I should.

Hello, from your new local government insider, by Rosalind Stannard

Since Dugald went to Bolivia, I’ve been helping Compact Voice with communications until Kelly, a permanent staffer, starts at the beginning of April. I’ll leave Kelly to introduce herself to you, so while I’m here for another six weeks, let me give you some insight into my background - the complex world of local government.

It’s all in the timing: act quickly to avoid your cuts consultation complaint falling flat.

recent judgement by the High Court quashed a decision by London Councils to cut £10m of grants to voluntary organisations. The Judge found that the consultation process was flawed and told them to do it again, properly. One of the interesting points about this case for local and national Compacts, is the timing. 

How did you get your Compact up and running? by Amber Alferoff

A new national Compact is a positive sign of government support for partnership, but Local Compacts are where the action (and inaction) happens. This is a message we have been hearing loud and clear as cuts test the strength of local agreements.  

The Meaning of Meaningful

Before Christmas, Compact Voice expressed concern about the short time scales which the Government was allowing for consultation, and in particular, one on commissioning launched by OCS. We wrote: “Compact Voice is concerned that with the pace of Government change, shorter time frames are becoming commonplace, with insufficient effort being put into meaningful consultation which follows Compact principles.”

Respect!

At the risk of sounding like a South London gangster there isn’t enough respect around. I’m not talking about queue jumping here but the way some local councils treat voluntary organisations. At Compact Advocacy we speak to people on a daily basis who have to bear the brunt of councils’ budget cuts and poor decision making. We see it all; hasty decisions behind closed doors, reviews based on flawed data, demands for money to be paid back, retrospective Equality Impact Assessments and refusals to communicate.

Not just fruit and funding: CSO's, Compacts, and EU democracy - by Amber Alferoff

Hello, I am the Islington Compact officer and also work for Compact Voice. Recently I represented Compact Voice at a discussion in Brussels titled: ‘The Lisbon Treaty and perspectives for more effective participation of CSO’s in EU decision making.’

Been there, busted that.

I’ve recently come across a new online support project set up by Communities and Local Government called “Barrier Busting” (alliteration is a proven effective communication technique, okay?). Set up dually to help the government with its commitment to transferring power and influence to local authorities and communities and to help individuals and groups in the community flag up barriers in a centralised space, the barrier busting team claims to want to “help you get things done for your local community”.

Farewell to Compact Voice...

Don't worry, Compact Voice is not going anywhere, but I will be leaving the organisation from 11 January, to fulfil a childhood dream to settle in South America.

          
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