John O'Brien: The search for a suitor begins...

With the charity's funding contract up for grabs, it is time to decide which organisations we would like to dance with, writes the chief executive of CA Plus

John O'Brien
John O'Brien

I was talking to a fellow "voluntary sector lifer" the other day (someone who has been in the sector for years, loves it, and can’t afford to retire for years anyway).

We were bemoaning the competitive contract culture we are now in.

I used to avoid two things: any funding with the word "European" in front and anything involving the word "partnership". Now I have to smile a lot, go to lots of meetings, and worst of all, over the next month or so I have to flirt and dance with all sorts of potential suitors. Yes, the funding contract for much of what we do here at CA Plus is up for grabs again, and we will need to be in a partnership.

Some folks might find this fun; but not me. It’s a real drag and takes me away from doing the day job. Of course, there are fellow organisations in the sector that we like, that do great things and with whom we’d be delighted to dance. I’m just not very good at dancing – ask my kids!

What’s more, the usual suspects in the "we’ll do anything for a contract" brigade will probably be swimming around. We can’t help but feel threatened and slightly insecure – shall I issue 15 redundancy notices just in case, including my own?

We feel pretty sure that sense will prevail and the end result will be what’s best for the sector. I do believe that we’ll be able to continue the great accounting service we’ve provided for more than 30 years now, but you never know – maybe Tesco will put in a bid offering 2 for 1 on accounts.

And by the way, the avoidance of the "E" word is nothing  to do with a certain Nigel Farage…

John O'Brien is the chief executive of CA Plus

This article was originally published on the Third Sector blog

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