Andy Hillier: Let's hope that fortune favours brave Scope

Third Sector's editor discusses the disability charity's radical new strategy, our exclusive article by Rob Wilson, the former Minister for Civil Society, and other highlights from the latest issue of the magazine

After a decade of growth at many of the UK's largest charities, the tide might be turning. Action for Children, the sight-loss charity the RNIB and the disability charity Scope are just some of the large charities that have reported significant job losses in the past year.

In the latest issue of Third Sector magazine, we talk to Mark Atkinson, the thirty-something chief executive of Scope, about what the future holds for the disability charity after it announced a radical new strategy earlier this year, partly to arrest its financial decline. Most of its service provision will be transferred to another provider and the charity will focus its mission on making society a fairer place for disabled people. Impact, rather than income, will be the new watchword. The move might be bold, but tough times require brave decisions.

Rob Wilson suffered a shock defeat in his constituency at June's general election, bringing to an abrupt end his three years as charities minister. Wilson has written exclusively for Third Sector about his time in office and why he made often unpopular choices. It's a fascinating insight into how the charity sector is viewed within Westminster and offers pointers about how it can stay on the agenda in a Brexit-dominated world. Like it or not, the Conservatives are likely to be in power for the next five years and the sector needs a good relationship with them.

One issue that should be high on the agenda of sector discussions with the government is the repayment of the £425m borrowed from the Big Lottery Fund to pay for the London 2012 Olympics. Every government of the past 10 years has sought to kick the issue into the long grass, but the sector can't afford to let this debt go unpaid. Thankfully, the Directory of Social Change refuses to give up the campaign.

Finally, relax. As Craig Dearden-Phillips explains in his latest Management article, tired and stressed charity managers are poor managers, so make sure you build rest and relaxation into your life.

Andy Hillier, editor, Third Sector

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