Third Sector at Large: Discourteousness, mysteriousness ... oi, that's my pen!

The Office for Civil Society partnership programme, the Third Sector Advisory Body and Acevo deputy chief Peter Kyle are on our minds this week

- It's been a painful week for organisations denied further funding from the Office for Civil Society partnership programme. Perhaps most traumatised was the volunteering charity TimeBank: the rejection letter managed to get the right person's name at the top but referred throughout to an entirely different charity. Chief executive Helen Walker won't say what the other charity is on the grounds that it might not yet know its fate, but will say she found the letter "hugely discourteous". There are 70 people working in the OCS, which raises the question of how many civil servants it takes to write an accurate letter.

- Listening to Walker's sorry tale was Labour peer Baroness Pitkeathley, chair of the Third Sector Advisory Body. This silent and mysterious organisation is soon to be consigned forever to limbo, along with various other confections of the former government. Pitkeathly muttered darkly about putting the TimeBank tale in the valedictory letter she's planning. But the big question is: will she renounce years of Trappism and publish it? We're all agog.

- We won't know for a week who's getting a slice of the shrinking partnership fund cake, but Acevo's one of them. How do we know? Acevo deputy chief Peter Kyle tweeted about civil society minister Nick Hurd walking off with his pen last week, and Hurd came back with: "Well, what are strategic partners for?" Hmm. There's many a true word spoken in jest.

- Hurd kicked off his spot at the Funding the Future conference with the arresting statement that the Prime Minister had made an important speech on 2 December. Short pause; implication dawned; rapid recovery: "Well, they're all important." Nifty footwork.

- The unfortunate fashion for unkind remarks about Eric Pickles is getting out of hand. Take this crack from Peter Holbrook of the Social Enterprise Coalition at the same conference: "There's only one thing more dangerous than standing between 1,500 people and their lunch - and that's standing between the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government and lunch." Honestly, what kind of comment is that? We really must call a halt to this sort of thing - but perhaps not just yet.

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