Every Action Counts Film

To coincide with the celebration of the Defra-funded Every Action Counts, the programme produced this video as a DVD. This is now available online. Click the play button to view. It may take a while to start on a slow internet connection.

The Every Action Counts Film on Vimeo.

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Let’s not re-invent the wheel

Disability Essex Logo ACEVO logo Co-operatives UK Logo
A key principle of the Ministerial Task Force is that it should build on what has gone before. We asked for your help in highlighting relevant initaitives and resources in a previous post. Please keep the information coming.

Contributions so far include:

  1. A letter from Richard Boyd, CEO of Disability Essex highlighting their experience so far in the design and development of their new eco-build headquarters (with webcam!);

Read More »

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Insights from a meeting with Social Enterprise Ambassadors

A couple of Fridays ago (22/5/09), I was invited to attend the last part of a meeting between the Office of the Third Sector (OTS) and its ‘Social Enterprise Ambassadors’ (SEAs). The SEAs are high profile social entrepreneurs who have been engaged by OTS to promote social enterprise more widely especially across government.

I know many of them through my previous role as founder and former CEO of ruralnet|uk, itself a social enterprise.

Part of the afternoon was spent in Q&A sessions between the SEAs and officials from the different government departments. I met with two groups of two SEAs. All had an interest in re-use, recycling and waste management.

The pen portraits of the SEAs I met with are below, as are a couple of striking insights from the conversations we had. Read More »

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Woodland Trust seeks new trustees

Roger Clarke, who Chairs Defra’s Third Sector Advisory Board, is also a trustee of the Woodland Trust who are seeking two new trustees. In their words: Read More »

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Hilary Benn says thanks to EAC contributors

Following the Every Action Counts celebration event that marked the end of the Defra-funded Every Action Counts programme, our Secretary of State, Hilary Benn, wrote to all those who had contributed to the to express his thanks. Click on the images of the letter below to see them full size on Flickr.

We expect the evaluation of the programme to be available shortly.

EAC thank you Letter 01 EAC thank you Letter 02

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Biographies of task force members

We published the list of the members of the Ministerial Task Force from the third sector in an earlier post.

Here now are more detailed biographies. Read More »

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Accounting for sustainability

Front cover CFDG Publication
This is a significant publication as far as Defra’s third sector team is concerned as is brings sustainability issues into ALL third sector organisations (not just those who deal with sustainability and the environment) and it brings them in at a strategic level. It is aimed at directors of finance and looks at how and why charities of all types can act and report on their environmental and social sustainability. This is why CFDG produced it: Read More »

Posted in 5 Environmental leadership, Embedding sustainable development | 1 Comment

Ministerial Task Force meets for the first time

Yesterday afternoon (20/5/09) the third sector members of the Ministerial Task Force met for the first time with officials from the four departments involved.

To some extent we are navigating unchartered waters with this task force in that we (the Government Departments) have not sought to control the process. Instead, we are seeking to work collaboratively with the third sector. We have asked organisations from the sector (Green Alliance and NCVO) to provide the secretariat and help with the recruitment process. The diversity and the calibre of the membership is a credit to this approach.

This is a brief overview of the meeting taken from my notes. The secretariat will be providing further details in due course. We will keep you posted on when and where these are available through this blog (you can subscribe for alerts here).

I was asked to make a statement about our expectations of the task force and drawing on the agreed terms of reference (pdf, 25KB) these are the main points I made:

  • We need to build on what has already been done but move very quickly and decisively.
  • This task force has been established to bring the power, the trust, the intellect and the reach of the third sector together with the force of government to come up with an inspiring set of actions we can all commit to.
  • We also want the whole of the third sector to appreciate the crucial role it has to play here and we want to understand how the government can effectively support this role.
  • The third sector gave us the welfare state can it give us the sustainable state?
  • When we talk about the whole of the sector working with government, we don’t just mean the people in this room (obviously). We need to bring the whole of the third sector and the whole of government along with us. This is too big an issue and too big an opportunity for us to split. If we fail to do this we aren’t likely to get a second chance. There is a huge responsibility on all of us to make this work.
  • I hope the task force will be able paint a really positive vision of the future and agree the actions required to move towards that vision
  • We need a vision and set of jointly agreed actions that will inspire people to engage effectively and quickly with the issues of sustainable living and climate change.
  • In our work on this task force, let’s try to rise above our own interests and those of our organisation and think of the future of the whole of society

After introductions, members were asked to write their ‘Hopes’ and ‘Fears’ with respect of the task force and the collective summary of these was:


  • we don’t learn from what’s gone before
  • talk not action
  • we fail to prioritise
  • fear that it’s too late to do anything about climate change anyway
  • that the sector cannot work together
  • the sector and government are unable to work collaboratively
  • that we miss this opportunity


  •  that we focus on actions
  • that we can make climate change relevant to people
  • that we can get a better recognition of what the third sector can add
  • that we can work together
  • that we can come up with a positive vision of what the future could look like

The discussion covered:

  • working methods
  • themes the MTF might focus on
  • whether the MTF should have a Climate Change or Sustainable Development focus (the consensus was that it should be the latter)

Stephen Hale of Green Alliance was elected as Chair of the third sector element of the task force.

*If you’d like to follow the progress of the task force in more detail, please contact Faye Scott [fscott at green-alliance dot org dot uk] to be put on the email list.

You can also help by highlighting work done already.

You can also comment right here - please click on the comment link.

There will be other opportunities to engage as the work of the Task Force progresses and we will highlight these here as they emerge.

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Third Sector Involvement in the Future Jobs Fund Seminar

It is important that our third sector partners are aware of this event being hosted by the Office of the Third Sector. Places are very limited so please book ASAP if this is relevant to your work. Only one place per organisation. Here are the details:

Event: Third Sector Involvement in the Future Jobs Fund Seminar
Date: 2nd June, 10am-1pm
Venue: Cabinet Office, 67 Tufton Street, London SW1P 3QS
Contact: If you would like to reserve a place, please email your name, organisation and special requirements to lara.rose@cabinet-office.x.gsi.gov.uk by Thursday 28th May.

In the Budget, the Government announced a £1 billion Future Jobs Fund to which third sector organistions and other organisations can bid to create around 150,000 new jobs. This is a new approach to creating jobs and providing hope for young people and jobseekers in deprived communities. Further information is available at www.dwp.gov.uk/futurejobsfund.

All bids submitted by 30 June 2009 will be considered for the first allocations of funding to enable the first jobs to begin in October or earlier.
Read More »

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New guide to Social Return On Investment (SROI)

SROI Guide Cover

This landed on my desk today and will be of great interest to third sector organisations who know they are doing great things but have difficulty measuring the social and environmental value of these things.

The cover is unexciting but the contents are not. I’ve flipped through this guide and it is very accessible. It describes the SROI process in stages and has a great resource section at the back.

We, at Defra, sit on this project’s advisory board.

You can download a free copy of the guide from the OTS website here.

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