Vacancies at the Sustainable development Commission

The Sustainable Development Commission is recruiting for two non-executive directors.

The Sustainable Development Commission is the Government’s independent advisor on sustainable development. It also works to help build the capacity of government and public bodies across the UK to understand and deliver sustainable development; is an advocate for sustainable development within and outside Government; and it performs a watchdog/scrutiny role on Government’s progress in delivering the UK’s Sustainable Development Strategy.

The Commission’s work covers many policy areas including: the built environment; climate change; consumption and business; economics; education, young people and skills; engagement; energy; health; local government; natural resources and land use; sustainable development action plans; and transport. Read More »

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Defra research published: Benefits of third sector organisations in waste management.

Defra has funded three research projects relating to social enterprise and waste management.


The first of these has been published and provides evidence of the wide range of social, economic and environmental benefits that are gained when social enterprises engage in the delivery of waste services.  The report is entitled ”Benefits of Third Sector Involvement in Waste Management“.  This research used an abridged version of Social Return On Investment to understand, measure and report on the social, environmental and economic value that is being created by third sector waste management organisations.  The research was carried out on behalf of Defra by Resources for Change and nef (the New Economics Foundation) with strategic input from Resource Futures and Community Environment Associates.

Two further reports in this series will be published in the near future, entitled “Unlocking the Potential of Community Composting” and “Social Enterprises and Sustainable Waste and Resource Management: Evaluating Impacts, Capacities and Opportunities”.  I’ll post links as they are published.

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Third Sector Strategy ‘One Year On report’ published

third sector strategy progress report cover

As Compact Week nears the end we have today (6/11/2009) published our Third Sector Strategy ‘One Year On’ report (PDF 1MB).  The report discusses the progress we have made on the range of commitments we made in our Third Sector Strategy (PDF 4.17MB). 

The report is accompanied by a detailed annex (PDF 920KB) which contains a commentary on the progress we have made on every commitment in the strategy. 

The full press release is here.

Our minister for the third sector, Huw Irranca-Davies will be making a video to launch the report, which we will link to here when it is available.

We would like to warmly thank all of our third sector partners and all of the Defra policy teams who have been working on taking forward the commitments in the strategy, which span the whole range of Defra’s policy responsibility.  We look forward to working with all our partners as we continue to deliver on our commitments.

The report sets out what we have done so far to create an excellent foundation on which we can build on as we move forward.  We are now thinking about our priorities for next year.  What do you think our priorities should be?

Posted in 1 Advocacy voice campaigning policy, 10 Enabling our delivery bodies, 11 Better commissioning, 2 Sustainable living, 3 Public services, 4 Environmental entrepreneurship, 5 Environmental leadership, 6 Improving communications, 7 Understanding the sector, 8 Joining things up, 9 Better partnerships | Tagged | Leave a comment

Defra wins Compact Award for Excellence at a National Level

Compact Award to Excellence at National Level

Last night (3/11/09) at the Compact Awards ceremony we won the award for Excellence at a National Level. We  are very pleased and already it’s causing a bit of a stir through the department. And so it should. Defra’s Third Sector Team is the grit in the oyster in all of this and we have been lucky enough to be around after years of sustained effort to raise the profile and build strong relationships with the Third Sector that go right back to the establishment of Defra’s Compact group way back in 2003 and before.  Several of the people involved in the Compact Group are still guiding us today through our Advisory Board. They include: Sylvia Brown of ACRE; Pauline Buchanan Black of The Tree Council, Trewin Restorick of Global Action Plan and Matthew Thomson of LCRN. Trewin chaired the Defra Compact Group. Then there’s Phil Barton of Keep Britain Tidy who, as a secondee to Defra, had a role in establishing the Compact Group.

Good relationships are the foundation to getting things done and this is where the commitment of Defra colleagues is so important. We have spent the last couple of months asking colleagues here for updates on the commitments we made in our Third Sector Strategy which was published a year ago. The level of activity has even surpised us as the Third Sector Team. We plan to publish our ‘One Year On Progress Report’ here before the end of Compact Week.

The other winners are listed on the Compact Awards website.

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Happy Compact Week!

This week is Compact Week, the week in the year that helps raise awareness of The Compact and acts as a useful focus to get things done. Last year, during Compact Week, Defra launched its Third Sector Strategy. This year, during Compact Week, we hope to be able to publish a report on the progress that we have made on the commitments we made then.

One of these commitments was that Defra delivery bodies would publish a ‘Third Sector Policy Statement’. Through Natural England, we have been supporting Natural England, the Environment Agency and the Forestry Commission in the production of their ‘Third Sector Statement’. We are very pleased that this statement went live on all three websites last night (2/10/09):

Natural England – The Third Sector
Environment Agency – Working with the third sector
Forestry Commission – The Third Sector

As the Forestry Commission states:

This joint statement is the start of a process and each organisation will be developing their own action plan. We will start developing ours during 2010/11, starting with a review and analysis of the existing relationships we currently have.

Special thanks are due to Simon Humphries (Natural Engalnd), Helen Townsend (Forestry Commission) and Michael Guthrie (Environment Agency) who have worked together over the last few of months to ensure the statement was ready to be published in Compact Week.

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Free procurement guide clarifies commissioning process

NAVCA and NCVO have today (2/11/09) jointly published and free guide to procurement law entitled: Pathways through the Maze. The publication is aimed at:

  • Anyone in an organisation who works with commissioning, procurement and public services.
  • All voluntary organisations, community groups and social enterprises interested or involved in delivering public services.
  • Public Sector commissioners wanting to improve their engagement with third sector organisations.

The publication can be downloaded from the NAVCA website.

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Defra Third Sector Team nominated for National Compact Award

We are very pleased to have been shortlisted as a finalist for the Compact Award for Excellence at a National Level in this year’s Compact Awards. This is awarded to a national partnership, Government department or a national third sector umbrella body for outstanding achievement in promoting and implementing the letter and spirit of the Compact.

We were nominated for the award by Peter Couchman, the Chief Executive of the Plunkett Foundation. Peter is a member of our Third Sector Advisory Board and represents the interests of social enterprises. He is also the link between our Advisory Board and Social Enterprise Strategic Partnership.

Will we win? Two members of our Advisory Board (Trewin Restorick and Phil Barton) and two members if the third sector team (Sandra Totterdell and Conor Ritchie) will be going along to the awards dinner on 3/11/09 to find out. We will let you know how we get on.

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New Social Enterprise Ambassadors website launched

The Social Enterprise Ambassadors website has been revamped and relaunched.  The site features new case studies, photos, videos speaker profiles, news, campaigns and blogs and we are promised much more to come.

The Social Enterprise Ambassadors are leaders of some of the country’s most successful social enterprises and have been engaged by the Office of the Third Sector to promote social enterprise across all government departments. We are able to link with the Social Enterprise Ambassadors through the Office of the Third Sector and have had one-to-one discussions with the following ambassadors who have a keen interest in re-use and recycling – key policy areas for Defra:

Reed Paget – Belu – Belu water is distributed in bio-degradable ‘plastic’ bottle made from maize
Kresse Wesling – new markets for waste products
Jean Jarvis – South Shropshire Furnture Scheme

Details of all the ambassadors are here.

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Measuring Social Value Conference – share your views on SROI

“There is more and more interest in measuring and valuing the impact of organisations on society. The Measuring Social Value Project is hosting a conference where third sector organisations, commissioners and investors will come together to share experiences of how Social Return on Investment (SROI) – one of the most exciting innovations in this field – is being used.”

The conference is on 7 December.  If you are planning to attend, I hope to see you there.  If you aren’t attending but you’re interested, please check back later as I’ll be posting a report here on the blog.  Full details and the opportunity to register can be found on the SROI website, here.

Related posts:

Posts tagged SROI

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Carnegie launch Rural Manifesto

Carnegie UK Trust - Fiery spirits

Image credit: Carnegie UK Trust (from the Rural Manifesto Report published today)

The experiences of pioneering rural communities in championing sustainable lifestyles can inspire neighbourhoods everywhere according to a report published today by the Carnegie UK Trust, building on evidence gathered through a collaboration with Big Lottery Fund and forty-four organisations and communities on the front line.

The report can be downloaded from here.

Kate Braithwaite, Director of Carnegie’s Rural Programme said: “although this report draws on innovative ideas from rural communities, it is relevant to neighbourhoods everywhere. All communities are increasingly faced with radical change where there are no existing solutions. We need new structures and new thinking to achieve our vision for the future”.

Gerald Oppenheim, Director of Policy and Partnerships at Big Lottery Fund said: ” This report examines some of the most pressing challenges facing rural communities. The findings provide a rich source of inspiration and action for policy makers and funders.”

Key findings from the Manifesto suggest:

  • New entrepreneurial organisations like development trusts are flourishing but elected representatives have to collaborate more
  • In times of austerity application of locally raised finance needs to be allied with funding redistributed from large regeneration programmes
  • Communities play a growing role in delivering tailor-made rural services
  • A realisation that the pursuit of growth is not everything: ‘well being’ matters
  • Without a sense of place it is difficult for people to feel like they belong
  • In terms of infrastructure, distributed and localised solutions to rural affordable housing and transport are leading the way
  • Rural communities are guardians of food, energy, water resources for all of us
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