Mediation 'could have solved Third Sector Leadership Centre row'

A neutral chair could have resolved conflict between NCVO and Acevo, says consultant

The NCVO and Acevo could have resolved their differences over the Third Sector Leadership Centre by appointing an independent mediator, according to Graham Massie, director of consulting at the Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution.

"They have ended up blaming each other," said Massie. "But they could have engaged a neutral chair to manage negotiations about their disagreements."

The leadership centre, a venture led by umbrella body the NCVO with chief executives body Acevo as a partner, will close next week. Infrastructure quango Capacitybuilders decided not to continue funding the centre after disagreements between the two umbrella bodies (17 March, page 1).

The quango has given the centre, set up to improve the quality of the sector's leadership, £750,000 since its inception in 2006. But it rejected a business plan submitted by the NCVO that requested another £300,000 after disagreements between the two umbrella bodies on their strategy for the centre.

Peter Kyle, deputy chief executive of Acevo, said he did not think mediation would have been appropriate. "We were made to believe we were engaging until the last minute," he said. "And bringing in arbitrators was hardly the way to win a bid."

Ben Kernighan, deputy chief executive of the NCVO, said it had believed Acevo supported its plans so there had been nothing to mediate.

- See Editorial, page 12, and Analysis, page 15.

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