Little at Large: The winds of change blow a bishop into the third sector

This week, Mathew Little shoots the breeze over a bishop who is downing his robes for the simpler togs of the voluntary sector and puts the wind up the Mayor of London's former deputy.

  • "We didn't think we'd get anybody this good," beamed the vice-chairwoman of the Powys Association of Voluntary Organisations. When the organisation advertised for a new chief executive, it surely wasn't expecting a CV to land on its desk with the most recent job reading "Bishop". But Carl Cooper, former Anglican bishop of St Davids in Wales, wanted a fresh start. He resigned in April after a split from his wife that generated national media coverage. Some of his clergy demanded that a tribunal investigate the circumstances, although Cooper denies anyone else was involved.

He has now sought refuge in the voluntary sector, but some of the old pulpit eloquence remains. Whereas other chief executives induce yawns with homilies to 'added value', Cooper warned in the Western Mail that without the 2,000 voluntary groups he now serves, "a strong and very cold draught would be felt throughout Wales and beyond".

  • The recipients of Capacitybuilders' Improving Reach programme to help marginalised communities were announced last month, after a two-month delay. The reason? Apparently, Capacitybuilders had assessed all 900 applications in time for the March deadline, but then realised it didn't have enough information, so had to assess them all again. And it paid a consultancy to do it.
  • Martin Narey, chief executive of Barnardo's, was appointed by Mayor of London Boris Johnson to head the investigation - now abandoned - into the allegations against Ray Lewis, his deputy and director of the Eastside Young Leaders Academy. It could have been fun, and surely not a whitewash: isn't Barnardo's part of what Johnson calls the liberal "stifling orthodoxy" on childhood issues that Lewis so disdains?

  - Mathew Little is a freelance writer. mathew.little@haymarket.com

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