Bookmakers across Britain are joining forces to combat the scourge of problem gambling, or so the script goes at least. The formation of the P3 Group is seen by more cynical observers as just the latest, desperate attempt by the bookies to stave off a growing avalanche of pressure to better police the gambling industry.
Handing over the keys to some of our most precious public services isn't something that should be done lightly, particularly when public trust is at stake. As a head of a country wide charity that deals with more than a million people each year, I'm acutely aware of the fragility of trust when delivering public services.
This week has illustrated just how the Government is continuing to heap pressure on the voluntary and community sector. Charities are suffering a triple hit with cuts of over 45 per cent in central government funding, local councils being forced to cut their VCS budgets, and a significant reduction in donations.
Having spent three years working for a small charity, running a support and signposting service for young people, I decided the time was right to move on. During my final week, one of our volunteers approached and asked (very sweetly and with the best of intentions) "So, is it time to get a real job then?".
Story-telling lets us break down one of the other big misconceptions about aid, that it's colonial, a white man's hero mission. In every Save the Children programme that I've visited at least 90% of the staff are from that country and are passionate about what needs to happen to improve life for their fellow citizens.
My strategic advice to the sector, is to seek to find common cause with local government to make the case to central government to stop or at least mitigate the impact of further cuts; to expose the human and financial implications of the Government's welfare 'reforms'; and to argue for greater localism with more devolved responsibility and resources to localities.
Increasing employee ownership and engagement is clearly a good social policy, but what excites hardnosed business brains is its irrefutable impact on a company's bottom line. Employee owned businesses are known to provide higher levels of customer satisfaction, better quality services, lower staff turnover, better levels of innovation, and they are more resilient.