Wednesday, 23 February 2011

At home and abroad

A4e boasts about its presence in 10 countries, and now the British Embassy in Latvia is pushing for business there for the company. There's nothing unusual in that, of course; embassies promote trade. Roy Newey is giving a seminar in Riga today. On Monday he was sharing ideas with 20 Chinese visitors. Meanwhile, Mark Lovell has been dining with Kenneth Clarke (the Justice Secretary), hatching "some cunning plans" on global social entrepreneurship with Doug Richards, and working on "a new partnership to deliver ethically priced financial services to people on low incomes". (He did say he wasn't giving up on the bank idea!) Emma Harrison may be getting the publicity, but Lovell is working behind the scenes.

Local councils are currently busy setting their budgets, working out what to cut. Where they have contracts with private companies, they can't cut them without incurring big financial penalties, so it's the voluntary organisations which have to be axed. That's one of the many reasons why David Cameron's "privatise everything" plans are so misguided. Yet A4e bosses are signatories to a letter to Francis Maude dated 10 January, in which Maude "is urged to consider ‘critical means by which we could transform public services through a new shared endeavour between local authorities and private sector providers, in the context of the public’s changing needs and expectations, and the fiscal and service challenges’ facing the coalition," according to Council leaders and many other companies have also signed the letter which "considers the role the private sector could play in ‘modernising’ public services, but recognises the important ‘role of the voluntary and community sectors as well as the wider public sector’." The points made in the letter are set out in detail on the LocalGov website, and No. 10 are said to have welcomed it.

1 comment:

  1. Our embassy's description of A4e describes Mr Newey as "an international thought leader".

    Interesting expression that. Makes him sound like a cult leader!


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