Saturday, 26 February 2011

Emma Harrison on The Moral Maze

You probably missed Emma Harrison on Radio 4's The Moral Maze, (Wednesday, repeated Saturday) but you can find it on iplayer. The topic was the role of charities, and Emma was there in her role as Chair of the FSI. Michael Buerk described A4e as a charity, a mistake which Harrison herself corrected. She said that when charities get too big they get crushed and lose their mission. She works with small charities which are not looking to the state to support them. The most healthy charities do both state-supported and donor-supported work. She says she has always been led by her mission, but charities can get diverted by going after a pot of money. Michael Portillo asked whether charities should displace the state. Harrison said that whoever was best at it should do the work. Charities are not the only organisations with a moral heart. Can charities be unaccountable, asked Portillo. No, everyone is accountable, she replied.
I found the confusion about whether A4e is a charity quite disturbing. Harrison had a valid point about big charities losing their mission; but it was another "me and my mission" opportunity, and she took it. Once again, there were no hard questions, and Harrison has now become the spokesperson for small charities. Ironic.


  1. I just read in a blog that the remit of the Independent Case Examiner is to be extended to include dealing with complaints about third-party providers like A4e.

    This is very welcome news, and long overdue. Here's the link to the blog I read it on:

  2. Good to hear Milly. Thanks. I am sure they will be inundated!!!


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