Posts By: Stephen Cook

The big society backlash

It’s surely not a coincidence that the Times, a Murdoch paper, has run a negative lead story on the big society a few days after Andy Coulson, former editor of another Murdoch paper, resigned from his job as the government’s communications director.

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Hiding your commercial credentials under a bushel

Many in the sector have a sceptical eye, and it wasn’t long before Frank Buckley applied his to the new online shopping app Give As You Live.

He is the chief executive of Down Syndrome Education International, and he noticed that it wasn’t easy to find out how Everyclick, which runs the app, is making the money to finance it.

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Can people be nudged into giving more?

Tucked away on page 19 of the government’s green paper on giving are two short sentences that speak volumes.

“We know that tax reliefs for charitable giving provide incentives for donors and support to charities more generally”, it says. “We will review the relationship between financial incentives and giving.”

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Arise Sir Stephen – and honour is satisfied

For a long time it was a moot point whether Stuart Etherington, chief executive of the National Council for Voluntary Organisations, or Stephen Bubb, head of the Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations, would make it first on to the honours list.

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Talking tough on Hard Talk

It’s the trademark of the BBC news channel’s Hard Talk to give its interviewees a good pummelling. And the gravel-voiced Stephen Sackur didn’t hold back when questioning Sir Stuart Etherington, of the National Council for Voluntary Organisations, about the big society at the weekend.

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Ditching a bad piece of law

In last week’s New Statesman, the magazine’s political editor, Mehdi Hasan, coined the ideal phrase for one of the least pleasant tendencies of the last government.

He wrote that the former immigration minister Phil Woolas, stripped of his parliamentary seat after an electoral court found that he told race-related lies about his Lib Dem opponent, embodied “the cynical, authoritarian populism of New Labour.”

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Trick or treat in the big society

Like many people, I imagine, I spent lot of yesterday evening answering the door to children in a variety of hideous costumes squealing ‘”trick or treat?” Unlike in previous years, I had anticipated it and spent a fiver at the local shops on an assortment of tooth-rotting gunge to hand out as insurance against getting the front door splattered with raw egg, or worse.

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Nice transition fund – what about the rest?

There are a couple of striking things about the new hundred-million-pound Transition Fund for the voluntary sector, announced in the yesterday comprehensive spending review yesterday.

The first is that it happened at all, given the overall 19 per cent cut in public spending over the next four years. The civil society minister, Nick Hurd, has done well to secure it.

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Hand-holding by the Office For Civil Society

The Office for Civil Society issued two short documents last week. There was a consultation about how it should take forward capacity-building in the sector, and a policy statement about building a stronger civil society.

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