Tuesday, May 04, 2010

The natives are revolting

The Third Sector has an item entitled: “Age UK runs into resistance as it tries to build up a federated structure.”

It appears that some large local Age Concerns are resisting overtures to join Age UK because they are worried about losing independence and, in the words of the article “put off by what they see as the secretive and corporate nature of the new national charity”. Strong stuff.

There are 332 local Age Concerns that are federated to Age Concern HQ. In fact they are all independent charities that have been trading under a single banner. These local organisations have been invited to sign ‘brand partnership agreement' on condition they first sign wide-ranging confidentiality agreements. They are also being asked to pass information about their beneficiaries to the national body and cede control of their websites. So says Third Sector

So far 25 of the organisation have signed up, but others are resisting, including some big city organisations. This raises the possibility that Age UK and local Age Concerns will end up as rival charities. In my last posting about Age UK I pointed out how few of the organisations mention the new organisation upon their web sites.

"The fear is that we end up with this national juggernaut of an organisation competing against us," said one senior Age Concern manager, but if we sign this agreement, we are worried we will lose independence."

Talk about tiptoeing on egg shells. At a stage when the whole charitable sector is under strain the last thing that Age UK needs is for an all-out revolt from its front-line staff. Let’s hope that sense prevails. Dick Stroud

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