I really want to respond to the Third Sector Draft Strategy, currently out for consultation by Birmingham City Council, but much like I did when I ran a Third Sector organisation in Birmingham I feel stifled and unable to contribute fully.

My blogposts may often seem to be criticising something,  but I really see them as a call to action.  I hope I identify issues, gaps,inequalities and misinformation to enable  people to think about what they could do to change, respond or challenge when things aren’t right.

So I went to respond to the Third Sector draft Strategy, having read the Kerslake Report and recognising much of it.  I was, needless to say, dismayed and saddened that we are set to carry on in the same old ways, paying lip service to disenfranchised residents, communities and community groups and organisations.  I unpicked it a little and you can read my selected extracts here – some selected for effect, but all are present in the originals nevertheless.

This is a comparison of what Kerslake says and what Birmingham City Council Says 

I once again urge  Third Sector organisations to reclaim their space! – you know what you are doing, you know how to do it and you need to tell the powers that be.  Rather than filling in this pre-boxed form,  which is guided around a set of woolly sugar-coated words, feedback with what you really want to say . Be real, remember we are broke, we can’t all keep everything we have and do everything the way we have always done it.  Change does need to happen, but please have a say in what the change should be.

The Kerslake Report says…

Birmingham needs to be fixed, and that failure to form effective partnerships is creating significant problems for both the city and the wider area.

Birmingham City Council say..

Birmingham City Council has had a long and productive relationship with third sector organisations across the city and they recognise the sector as a valuable partner in the delivery of effective and efficient public services.

General Comments..

There are some good partnerships, but everyone is struggling and BCC should own up to their problems and stop patronising the Third sector with the same vision they trot out every year.

Here it is, judge for yourselves