My Week: Martin Narey, chief executive, Barnado's

The chief executive of Barnardo's stays in a miserable pub and looks for a fundraising chief.

Narey: 'hot water on alternate days'. Credit: Newscast
Narey: 'hot water on alternate days'. Credit: Newscast

MONDAY - I'm a weekly commuter and Mondays start early with Jan, my wife, driving me to York for the 6.30am train to King's Cross. But it's worth it for a return every weekend to the North Yorkshire coast. We tried living in the south east for about 18 years but never quite got the hang of it. I manage to work at Whitby almost every other Friday, which helps me and - I would say this, wouldn't I? - it helps Barnardo's.

WEDNESDAY - Our annual general meeting. A big day for us with our members - our shareholders, in essence - staff and supporters attending from around the UK. Despite anxieties about the economic gloom - alleviated considerably by Ian, my finance director, who assures members that we do not have and have never had any cash in Icelandic banks - it's a very positive day. The highlight is a question-and-answer session with my chair, treasurer and deputy chair. Not for the first time, I reflect how well the Barnardo's board understands the business and understands governance. I suspect those chief executives who complain about interfering boards have never tried government ministers, for whom I worked for more than 20 years.

THURSDAY - A fascinating 24 hours in rural Oxfordshire with more than 100 directors of social enterprises and heads of corporate social responsibility from a large number of major companies. I am from one of only two traditional charities and, although I admire many of the social enterprises, I am keen to remind the companies that social enterprise can't solve everything. There is no self-financing business model for much of our work, and we will continue to rely on donations. No sign as yet of the credit crunch hitting the private sector. Those of us from the third sector stay in a miserable pub in Wantage at £55 a night, with hot water on alternate days, while the corporates all seem content with paying the £200 rack rate at a nearby Hilton.

FRIDAY - A desperately important day as I interview for a new director of fundraising. Lots of applicants of good quality and an impressive shortlist. But I enter the morning anxious about whether, in the flesh, individuals will live up to their CVs. While shortlisting, we dispensed with some candidates whose extravagant and imaginative claims of success did not survive modest research. But we have a good day, and I travel back to the north east determined to make a deal with the outstanding candidate on Saturday morning. And I do.

Barnardo's supports children and young people across the UK.

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