So there is a new minister for the Office of the Third Sector, and it is: Phil Hope, who was previously at the DfES (with a focus on vocational education). Ed Miliband moves upwards (succession planning in action) to be Minister for the Cabinet Office, which is being interepreted mostly as good news for the sector, given the continuity it should bring: Miliband will have overall responsibility for the third sector as part of his role. Other relevant reshuffling information can be found here (including Hazel Blears to Communities, John Hutton to Business / Enterprise, and so on….). One interesting appointment is Dame Julia Neuberger as a special advisor on volunteering.
Phil Hope, a hurried glance at Wikipedia has told me, used to be a youth policy advisor at NCVO before working at the National Youth Bureau. He’s also written several publications on youth-related matters, and has strong co-op links. On his appointment, he released the following statement:
"I am greatly excited by the new role I have been asked
to undertake. The third sector – voluntary groups, charities and social enterprises – plays a critical role alongside the public and private sectors to build economic success, create social justice and develop stronger communities.
I look forward to drawing upon the experiences of voluntary and community groups in Corby and East Northamptonshire as I take on this new task. Having worked in the third sector for many years before entering Parliament and chaired the All Party Parliamentary Group for the Voluntary Sector when first elected, I hope I can bring firsthand experience to the job of promoting voluntary and community groups and creating successful social enterprises."
What else can I tell you? According to his own website, Mr Hope likes to relax with tennis and juggling. According to Wikipedia, he can also tap dance as well as juggle, whilst he also apparently appeared in Z Cars in the 1970s. More seriously, he was recently diagnosed with cancer, and has recently come through radiotherapy / chemotherapy treatment successfully (good, open account on BBC Northamptonshire).
And I hope I have staked the claim to be the first person to use the Hope and Charity gag. I look forward to a faith-based third sector conference for the chance to really nail the obvious headline pun home….